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First of all I want to state This is NOT an attack on anyone who may feel that one should not "teach" young children. Think of it more as a clarification and a curiosity. By young I am referring to the 3-5 range. I am curious of the reasoning behind feeling it is wrong or objectionable to teach a younger child things like reading or math. I would love to see opinions and links to backing research if possible so I may learn too or see some more background for this stance :)

 

I have seen comments not only here but other boards recently from people speaking out against teaching "young" children in an academic way. Being a product of n early learning environment as well as one of those parents teaching a 3 yo old to read as well as math and critical thinking, I am honestly curious and somewhat perplexed as to why I should not be doing this.

 

Everything I have read when researching brain development tells me that the brain is most able to absorb and learn information from birth to three years of age but the window of opportunity so to speak of teaching a child is from birth to 10 years of age. The more information a child is given the more connections the child's brain will form. When a child is taught something repeatedly during this period of time the child's brain form strong connections that will last a lifetime.

 

This is the root of why they say that if you want a child to really learn a second language to teach them early so they do not miss the opportunity to become fluent in the second language. They also suggest teaching a language that greatly differs from the native language because it utilizes the other sounds of language and forces the brain to look at language much more differently then a child learning one language or two similar languages. When you force or rather teach your brain to look at something from two drastically different perspective you help your brain to form new connections and strengthen the brain's ability to learn and understand other information. For instance with language if you are taught English and Japanese at a young age (only examples language wise) it makes it much much easier to learn other new languages through life because you have a fundamental understanding of many sounds and pieces of language.

 

Now I know play is important, immensely important actually. For a moment though consider play and what it is. Across the animal kingdom from humans to puppy dogs play is how young learn. Dog learn to hunt and defend. Children learn social skills, early reading skills, early math skills, early reasoning skills and so on. I have two older DSDs and I have watched them play plenty. They play in the toy kitchen with DS1, they set up stores and they set up schools complete with a whiteboard and desks. This is how children learn to become adults. So why is it when someone ventures to teach a willing and excited 3 year old to read or math that it becomes wrong? Why are comments like "I would never use curricula for a child under 5!" or "they are too little just let them play" put out there? I mean heck there are curricula out there now made for 3 year old specifically! People come up with misinformed reasoning as to why we should "let kids be kids" rather then torture them with "school". Never mind the fact that you may have a 3 year old begging you to teach them to read.

 

I cannot speak for others but when "school is done here" it is in short sessions and cuddled on our couch or sprawled out on our floor. DS1 has a little desk but I would never in a million years sit him there and force him to do anything! There is no pushing involved and if we come to something that even frustrates him a little it is dropped until he becomes ready to have a go at it again or outwardly asks to try again.

 

i want to know how this can be "wrong".

 

Some food for thought so you all don't think I am talking out of my rear end or anything :lol: you can search for more info on neuroplasticity and early childhood brain development too :)

 

http://www.sciencemaster.com/columns/wesson/wesson_early_02.php

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs609w.htm

http://www.helium.com/items/548252-childrens-ability-to-learn-language

 

Vision myths:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Can-You-Damage-Your-Eyes-If-You-Read-Too-Much?-Another-Myth&id=818453

http://www.agingeye.net/visionbasics/visionmyths.php

 

If you got his far kudos to you! :p getting off my soap box now

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Just off the top of my head here, but I think most people don't have a problem with teaching little ones how to read or about numbers. The difference is when someone is trying to fit in all other subjects into a little one's day. I agree and math lesson should not be at a desk with paper and pencil, but maybe on the floor counting building blocks as they are stacked or counting flowers on a walk outside. I always naturally taught my babies from the time they looked interested, so am not against early learning. I just don't think they should be subjected to forced seat work at that age. Does that make any sense. Anyway, that my two cents.

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I taught my son some when he was little. I guess the differance is when someone post about making them sit still or listen. I just wouldn't push it at that little. My son said he wanted to learn to read, so I began some phonics. But when he was done, I didn't push it. There are so many more years where we have to push it, work on lengthning attention span. If their enjoying school and you are too, but I hate to see people burn out before their kid is 5.

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Just off the top of my head here, but I think most people don't have a problem with teaching little ones how to read or about numbers. The difference is when someone is trying to fit in all other subjects into a little one's day. I agree and math lesson should not be at a desk with paper and pencil, but maybe on the floor counting building blocks as they are stacked or counting flowers on a walk outside. I always naturally taught my babies from the time they looked interested, so am not against early learning. I just don't think they should be subjected to forced seat work at that age. Does that make any sense. Anyway, that my two cents.

 

 

see now agree here totally :) at this age it should not be forced or too structured but to say it should not be done period just makes no sense to me :P It is more prevalent on other boards I visit but I brought it up here because this board is more open to reason and I have a better chance being given thoughts on the other side without a flame war :lol:

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Many people have the habit of trusting experts who produce products for teaching kids who can't yet speak to read, and other such nonsense. People also look to experts to tell them what their child does and doesn't need, should and shouldn't be doing, because they've never learn to take accurate cues from their own child. If you jump on the general boards (I assume it's different on the accelerated forum) you'll have people who are afraid you are in either of the former two camps, desperately trying to convince you to chill out before a) you burn your kid out, b) you burn yourself out c) you have covered material that could have been left until later and so your kiddies will be bored of the topics before they're really old enough to appreciate them.

 

If you're faced with a three year old who threatens to leave home if you won't teach her to read, how to recite her times tables or read her books about hydro electricity, no one is going to tell you not to. They'll just tell you to take it easy and give as little as your child will be satisfied with, because there are plenty of non-academic things that even advanced kids could be doing. Art, for example. It's best to start art early before they hit the perfectionist stage and refuse to do it because they can't get it right. Or choosing whether to grow orange or purple carrots, or learning to ride their bikes, or whatever.

 

With these types of threads, people are concerned, that's all. The mums with big kids can't help but remind us that they wish there'd been more time spent on baking brownies and digging in the garden, because their kids are studying grammar which isn't as fun, and they don't want to dig in the garden with Mamma anymore because they are too grown up for such things.

 

Rosie

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I tend to think of it as, "what are they missing out on in the time they are doing school?" There are only so many hours in the day, and while kids are memorizing Shakespeare, generally they are giving up their own free play. (Not that Shakespeare doesn't have its place, I just don't agree that it is in the 3-5 y.o. crew :).)

 

Study after study shows that play develops complex brain function that allows humans to be more analytical, find creative solutions and respond to difficult situations in emotionally appropriate ways.

 

This book explains a lot of the recent brain research on play:

Einstein Never Used Flashcards

 

Also, this study used rats to examine what happened when play time was reduced or taken away - basically, the rats in a play-deprived environment actually had immature brain development. The brain did not prune correctly when it didn't have as much access to play time. In this study more play = better brain development.

Taking Play Seriously

 

Obviously, I do a bit of school with my 5 y.o., because I feel it is developmentally appropriate - BUT I do seriously limit that time because play IS what develops the brain at this age, and scientific research demonstrates this fact. I want to give my kids as much play time as I can so their little brains can mature for the long term as well as possible!

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Many years ago, before I had kids of my own, I worked at a teacher's store. This was during the 80s and the craze was to use flash cards with infants to teach them foreign languages, to teach them to read. The owner of the company thought that was a bunch of hogwash, so we didn't stock those sets of cards. I can't tell you how many parents left the store disgruntled because they wanted to use flash cards to teach their little babies how to read! Swaddled infants!! We'd tell them the best thing to do was just to read aloud and talk to their babies and move to board books and picture books over time, and they'd not be convinced and leave!

 

I also had parents who were concerned that sets of blocks didn't have instructions! They would ask, "But how will little Johnny know what to build?"

 

I'm guilty as charged in telling people to relax here because I see folks worried about science and history and literary analysis with young'uns. I would never mean for someone to not explore math or teach reading to a toddler who is interested, I just worry that the understandable enthusiasm for "doing school" makes some of the parents here much like the folk I used to see in that store -- eager to be doing more than their kids are developmentally able to do. And yeah, I've got lanky, smelly teens who don't want to dig in the garden with me anymore and who need to be spending many hours of their day engaged in study. I want y'all with young kids to enjoy that special time and trust in the learning that happens through play.

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I think some of it stems from the differences in children. My first child was very academic. She LOVED books. That was her favorite play. She loved discussion. She loved history and science subjects along with letters and numbers. I would never recommend that someone else should follow our path, unless their child was very similar. It would be an inappropriate plan for another child, but it was great for her.

 

Our son is completely different. He just turned 3 and he is nowhere near the place his big sister was at his age. He does have strengths, but they are more spatial, mechanical, physical, and social - not so much academic. Perhaps if I had had him first, I would have been incredulous at the idea of teaching children such academic things. It would not have been apropriate for him AT ALL. In fact, I believe he is going to learn a lot through playing with toys. Our daughter played with books and ideas mostly. She did not enjoy hands-on things much at all. The things that others thought were appropriate for young children were not very appropriate for her.

 

Kids are have such different learning styles and starting points, that while I have experience that I can share, I realize that each child thrives in a different way from the next and my experience may have nothing to do with the next child.

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I wonder if people react because 99% of the time it's a new homeschooler asking the questions. Usually it's a mom whose oldest child is 3 or 4, and she's wondering if she's doing too little, or why her child isn't "getting it." Believe me, most of us have been that eager newbie who's super excited to start officially homeschooling! I also think we want to spare others from making some of the same mistakes we did.

 

I don't see anything wrong with providing learning opportunities for young, preschool age children. Maybe it's a matter of semantics. I don't homeschool my two year old. I read to him, I sing songs with him, I am teaching him to count and his abc's. It's not homeschooling, it's part of being a mom. But if I came on here looking for suggestions and describe what we do as math, reading, and music, people are going to offer me lots and lots of advice about not pushing too hard. :001_smile:

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I am curious of the reasoning behind feeling it is wrong or objectionable to teach a younger child things like reading or math.

 

Sometimes it's philosophy. There are people who believe that formal instruction in early childhood is simply not developmentally appropriate, ever. They range all the way from grandmothers who remember "In my day kids just played outside all day" to high-level researchers in child development and education who believe in developmentally appropriate environmentally enriched instruction based on behavioral principles implemented in the child's natural environment. (If you are interested in early childhood ed and development, try to sit in on a debate or read some of the literature debates between early-literacy folks and child-led learning folks. Same debate, bigger words. ;) It's very interesting.)

 

And sometimes, in offering advice to any particular post, people respond to what they read. I've been reading this board for years, long before the board switched to this format. In my experience, usually the "Slow down and enjoy the ride" advice is offered to parents just beginning their journey posting about something that's not working as well as they'd like. They're feeling stress about some part of their schooling: Too much to do, this or that behavior is cropping up, my 2 y.o. isn't understanding quantum physics yet.....(lol, just kidding) The advice is often less about the age or the giftedness of the child(ren) and more about helping to find a way to make things balance.

 

I have seen comments not only here but other boards recently from people speaking out against teaching "young" children in an academic way. Being a product of n early learning environment as well as one of those parents teaching a 3 yo old to read as well as math and critical thinking, I am honestly curious and somewhat perplexed as to why I should not be doing this.

 

Reading your post, I think "Awesome!" It's clear you've put a lot of time, effort and thought into what you're doing and your reasons for doing so. You sound positive and excited. No reason why you shouldn't be doing what you're doing. :)

 

Cat

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Two of my kids learned to read very young and with no instruction. I don't mean CVC, I mean whole sentences that defied phonics instruction. They breathed in text. If your 4 yr old can comprehend , pronounce and spell 'scented', why the heck would you need OPGTR?

 

They did math in their heads 'Mom, grandma says she can't come for dinner, but will be here for dessert, so we only need to set 13 dinner plates, but 14 dessert plates". Or what about a kid just out of diapers who says, "There are 4 pieces of pizza here, so that means we can have 1/4th each". It's totally simple and basic math, but if the child is 3 or 4, why do you need a math workbook? I could kill myself teaching geometry to a baby, but why? If I wait a few years, we can knock it off in a couple of months...and in the meanwhile just chat about it as it comes up naturally in our lives.

 

I saw that my young kids didn't need a lot/any of 'instruction' time beyond living our lives and chatting. I remember when one dc was reading a book series at about 5/6 or so. Dc said "this book didn't need even one sequel. The author could have tied up loose ends with a well-written epilogue".

 

I simply didn't seen any need for workbooks or the like. I have a 10 yr old reading way beyond 'age level'. My biggest issue is finding appropriate reading material for her age.

 

My little kids just had so many interests. It seems /seemed wrong to fill their time with busywork or worksheets. They simply did not need them to learn what they knew/know. There is no holding them back. The drag/dragged me where they need to go.

Edited by LibraryLover
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I tend to think of it as, "what are they missing out on in the time they are doing school?" There are only so many hours in the day, and while kids are memorizing Shakespeare, generally they are giving up their own free play. (Not that Shakespeare doesn't have its place, I just don't agree that it is in the 3-5 y.o. crew :).)

 

Study after study shows that play develops complex brain function that allows humans to be more analytical, find creative solutions and respond to difficult situations in emotionally appropriate ways.

 

This book explains a lot of the recent brain research on play:

Einstein Never Used Flashcards

 

Also, this study used rats to examine what happened when play time was reduced or taken away - basically, the rats in a play-deprived environment actually had immature brain development. The brain did not prune correctly when it didn't have as much access to play time. In this study more play = better brain development.

Taking Play Seriously

 

Obviously, I do a bit of school with my 5 y.o., because I feel it is developmentally appropriate - BUT I do seriously limit that time because play IS what develops the brain at this age, and scientific research demonstrates this fact. I want to give my kids as much play time as I can so their little brains can mature for the long term as well as possible!

Yep, that. There are endless things you could do with children that have merit, but they all have to be weighed up against the amount of self directed playing time they would replace. I don't think it's possible to prescribe a particular number of hours/minutes for a given age, though, as it depends on the individual child, as Irene pointed out.

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I have to disagree with the idea of any formal teaching at a young age will hinder brain development. Those rats in the study might have been deprived of most of their play, vs. an hour to stimulate the mind some other way.

We taught both our dc to read at four yrs old,very easily and fun,I spent app. 15 minutes a day going through a phonics based reading program and by the time they turned five they were both reading. They both can not remember ever not being able to read

I believe they are miles ahead (they are)of peers because they learned to read early. Same for developing their thinking and reasoning skills. While I didn't do any sit down math with them until later, we had a " travel game" where we would each take turns making up a "story" problem. " If there were five trees in the yard and a wind came and knocked over two how many were left standing? Is it any wonder they never struggled with story problems?

I would say to the one who started the thread, if your children are enjoying it, go for it! I have often wondered if both of mine were naturally more gifted or if they are so smart ( not just my opinion) because of early brain stimulation.

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I saw that my young kids didn't need a lot/any of 'instruction' time beyond living our lives and chatting.

 

My little kids just had so many interests. It seems /seemed wrong to fill their time with busywork or worksheets. They simply did not need them to learn what they knew/know. There is no holding them back. The drag/dragged me where they need to go.

 

:iagree: I posted once (and was blasted :001_smile:) that I see no need to teach my littles their phonics before K. If they lead me there, I will gladly do it. I won't set out to do it. That's not how I want to spend their youngest years. They learn so much from talking, playing, and exploring. I want them to 100% lead in those years. I want to have fun following them and enjoying those years to their fullest.

 

On a practical note, I have a housefull of littles. Yes, it only takes 15 min/day for directed xxx learning. I don't have a lot of 15 min slots to spread around. I spend a lot of time in hands-on care, cooking, chore training, and teaching my 2nd grader. The rest of my time I want to use for exploring with my kids, not with an agenda.

 

So my thoughts aren't based on any research. They are based on what I want for my family.

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If your child is ready for that stuff and likes it - why not?

 

One of my kids liked to do learning activities at 3, but two of our kids were pretty much still babies at 3...giant, potty-trained babies who liked to throw gi-normous temper tantrums in every Wal-Mart they entered. There was the famous Target Pee Incident of '06 (in the shampoo aisle).

 

What I'm trying to say is...some kids like to do things like that and then, there's my son... :lol:

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I don't believe in keeping things from my kids, but I don't think formal "instruction" is necessarily the best way with little kids.

 

I don't think one needs to stand in front of a blackboard and use a textbook in order to teach some interesting math things to little kids. Nor does one need to use flashcards. In acquiring a second language (which I am a fan of), I think the natural approach is better. My kids are bilingual, btw. They have learned both languages through speaking with native speakers and being exposed to both languages in their environment, and having books read to them or reading books on their own. There has been no drill or flashcards. I don't think information is well retained that way.

 

There is something to be said for allowing children to interact with things, and also to remember that some very basic skills need to come first -- like walking, pouring, holding a writing implement, and drawing a straight line and so on, before someone is going to be able to (for example) write a letter. I think there is a danger in over academizing early skills, when the natural joy of discovery can often be more inspiring.

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I think the concern is for hothousing when the most important learning is done through play, exploration, relationships, etc.

 

*I* believe in teaching young children, esp the basics, for the same reasons you mention. I also believe in keeping formal academics to a minimum for young children (definition is usually 3-8yrs old).

 

Basically, it comes down to, IMHO, balance. There are more than a few people who burn out preschoolers to prove homeschooling works or so their kid looks extra bright. And there are more than a few people who neglect to provide the environment that allows for natural and interest based learning. Pushing and Do-Nothing are both poor educational choices (again, imo).

 

As for how it worked out with my kids? They both had strengths and weaknesses as young children. My daughter was about a 4th grade level as a young preschooler. My son didn't get to that level til about 12yrs old. For both, during the ages of 3 to 8, life, interests, play, etc took priority. They had great knowledge and deficiencies. They were full of life, had wonderful relationships with each other and with us. They had friends. They played legos (how my daughter learned basic multiplication), played in the sand, played with sidewalk chalk, played with bicycles, etc. They made pulleys to put things up in the tree and picked out tunes on the keyboard. My son used sign language to communicate while my daughter learned basic words and such in several world languages. We spent a good deal of time outside, at the park, at the library, etc. We had a GREAT time and I would never trade it.

 

If I had another kiddo (or set of kids), I would teach them to read as early as possible (infancy, possibly). I would likely do various play with math and pre-writing and general knowledge stuff. But I'd keep it light and fun and would have VERY short sessions in the day. And our FOCUS would be on play, life, and interests.

 

Anyway, sorry to ramble. Basically, I agree with teaching young children but to keep the formal aspect to a minimum through much of (if not all of) elementary. If I did it over again, we'd be classical unschoolers at least through elementary :)

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I think, as many other posters have stated, that balance is the key. Homeschooling is such an efficient use of time that it's possible to grab a few minutes here and a half hour there to fit in phonics and math most days, yet hardly make a dent in a child's time for free play and exploration. My 4 year old begs to do school each day, and we manage a few pages of ETC and MEP several days a week, plus play fun hands-on math games. All of this takes less time than the bus ride to and from the public preschool here. The rest of his time is his own, for building with blocks, crawling into my lap with a book, working on puzzles, imaginative play with his sister, messy art projects, and roaming around outdoors. This is not an either-or proposition -- we get to have our cake and eat it, too, so to speak.

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I'm guilty as charged in telling people to relax here because I see folks worried about science and history and literary analysis with young'uns. I would never mean for someone to not explore math or teach reading to a toddler who is interested, I just worry that the understandable enthusiasm for "doing school" makes some of the parents here much like the folk I used to see in that store -- eager to be doing more than their kids are developmentally able to do. And yeah, I've got lanky, smelly teens who don't want to dig in the garden with me anymore and who need to be spending many hours of their day engaged in study. I want y'all with young kids to enjoy that special time and trust in the learning that happens through play.

 

True that ^^^.

 

It's waking up one day and realizing those years are just gone--whizzed past while you weren't looking!

 

We do seem to have a lot on our plate here, but I break it up and teach it at his developmental level. We also do one week on, one week off with some of the things used on our schedule, and it does have to be at his level, not where we should be. That's the only way we can creep along and make forward progress. I can only wish for more of those days when I had a 4 y/old.

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I am curious of the reasoning behind feeling it is wrong or objectionable to teach a younger child things like reading or math.

 

My two reasons:

 

1. Most of the times I have met or read about people teaching very young children (which I define as 1-4), they are showing frustration and annoyance with their children because their children aren't performing according to the parents' plan. This is where the "My two-year-old's attention span for Euclidean geometry is not long enough for the lessons I planned!" comments come in.

 

2. Most of the times when I have met or read about people teaching very young children, they have taken materials suited for older children's developmental stages and tried to make their toddlers and preschoolers do them. This is where the "My three year old would rather play with toy cars than complete the 47 handwriting exercises it took me 47 hours to create! When is his innate joy in learning going to show up?" comments come in.

 

I have no problem with "teaching" young kids, but in my experience a lot of the people who "do school" with toddlers and preschoolers are just anxious to start homeschooling and try to replicate what school with a five, six, seven, or eight year old would look like. It's like people think that learning is only valuable if it happens within a structured program.

 

Tara

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My two reasons:

 

1. Most of the times I have met or read about people teaching very young children (which I define as 1-4), they are showing frustration and annoyance with their children because their children aren't performing according to the parents' plan. This is where the "My two-year-old's attention span for Euclidean geometry is not long enough for the lessons I planned!" comments come in.

 

2. Most of the times when I have met or read about people teaching very young children, they have taken materials suited for older children's developmental stages and tried to make their toddlers and preschoolers do them. This is where the "My three year old would rather play with toy cars than complete the 47 handwriting exercises it took me 47 hours to create! When is his innate joy in learning going to show up?" comments come in.

 

 

:lol:

 

Yep, huge difference between informally teaching a 3 yo to read while snuggling on the couch with a book and sitting the child down for four hours of mom-structured school with set curricula, and then wondering that the dc doesn't keep up with the book's pace. When most people respond on these boards to pushing, it tends to be to the latter type.

 

I had insatiably curious dc. We got out of the house. We went to every science museum, field trip, park, you name it. They learned so much. Now that school takes so much more time, and we must be serious, I am so glad for those carefree days when my dc saw the world. One of the greatest factors in reading comprehension is background knowledge, and this comes from childhood experiences.

 

I understand that people are anxious to "be homeschoolers." But there is plenty of time for that. After years of watching those who come on and know it all, blog it all, and plan it all wtih 3 yos crash and burn, the veterans here know what they are talking about. It sounds condescending if you don't hear the love. It sounded condescending when I got advice when I was new. But I took it, and it has made all the difference, as Frost says.

 

I am one of the most rigorous homeschoolers I know, and my dc did learn to read young and are ahead by some years, so it's not from a place of a relaxed mentality toward academics that I say this. If you want to set up structured school when you have dc under 4, set it up for yourself. Take the extra time you have while dc enjoy playing and go learn to be a good teacher, learn about classical education, learn the subject matter you will be teaching soon enough. They will quickly overtake you, and you will start running out of time. You will wish back the hours you spent planning preschool curriculum so that you can read that classic you need to discuss with your dc.

 

I do think sitting them down at the table for a few minutes a day, building up to an hour or so by kindergarten is great. But that's about it. :)

Edited by angela in ohio
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I think the difference is that many of us believe that play is learning. There are many examples of not only bright, but gifted children, having parents on this board. I believe that a gifted child is actually easier to teach through the "play is learning" mode. A gifted child's learning/play is like being on a roller coaster because they are soaking things up and making connections left and right without me telling them to make the connection! (Other kids learn through play too. It just isn't as apparent that they are learning because they aren't so transparent about it.)

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I taught my then 2yo how to read. It started because I noticed that he could learn the name for anything (including shapes) after one or two repetitions. I figured if he could learn the name for shapes, why not the name for letters (except I taught the sound rather than the name). Once he had that down, which I seem to remember took only a few weeks, I started showing him how to put letter sounds together to form words. This wasn't quite so easy and took a few months (I think).

 

I also did basic math with him. We started K a year early with mostly 1st grade materials. Then when he officially entered K, he was using mostly 2nd grade materials.

 

I never pushed him. I always asked him if he wanted to do the academic stuff and respected his answer when he said no. Many times when I told him it was time to stop he would cry. We only did reading, handwriting, and math, and in the evenings I would read good children's books to him. When he turned 5, lessons with me became mandatory and then during his official K year (starting when he was 5.75), we added science and history/geography.

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On the 'teaching' Shakespeare thing. I had a child who memorized some Edgar Allen Poe poertry at 4. I didn't 'teach' dc, dc picked up the book, liked the sound of it & memorized it for the pleasure of the sound. You can't hold a child like that back if you wanted to.

 

If you have a kid like that you have a kid like that. Just enjoy and offer. Later, when they are older and need to know the formal structure of writing etc., you do it. I've never known even a gifted 4 yr old to want to write reams of words on paper. If you have one like that, you should let them do it.

Edited by LibraryLover
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I think the difference is that many of us believe that play is learning. There are many examples of not only bright, but gifted children, having parents on this board. I believe that a gifted child is actually easier to teach through the "play is learning" mode. A gifted child's learning/play is like being on a roller coaster because they are soaking things up and making connections left and right without me telling them to make the connection! (Other kids learn through play too. It just isn't as apparent that they are learning because they aren't so transparent about it.)

 

 

I agree. There is so little 'teaching' that has to be done. Kids soak in information, often in ways parents do not realize, or worse yet, do not value. Some kids will talk about it and wow you (the four yr old passing out stuff and considering fairness with fractions, fi)) and some kids are more quiet. You don't know something until you're standing at the deli and they read the the specials off the chalkboard.

 

I also see that lots of wonderful kids get turned off to things they loved once their parents ''take the bull by the horns' and do lots of written work. The little one who loved thinking abut numbers can easily turn into a kid who 'hates math' once 60 problems a week of Saxon are involved. It can be very sad to see the spark go out. (Of course my dds are older they do Saxon...lol) The small child who once adored books is now sitting at the table crying over beginner grammar worksheets and then parents complain that it takes her 'hours to do one simple page!". I mean, can't kids learn the words and meaning of noun, adjective verb etc just by mentioning it while you read or chat together? For preschoolers, my motto is Save a Tree, Buy Less Copy Paper.

 

Of course, if you have one who loves those 60 Saxon problems a week and whizzes through them happily then there is nothing to worry or complain abut here; We don't hear vents from those folks.

Edited by LibraryLover
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I also think experienced parents feel concern for less experienced parents when they worry about not having enough time to do more academics. It's one thing to have a child who adores it all and you're all really relaxed and not feeling worried. I think the chit -chat comes in when parents are really expecting more than they or the small child can give. I think of this, just in general, not just reguarding that poor OP who didn't mean for the other thread to take such a turn.

 

If you're at the point where you are considering giving up toddler naps to do more school work, I would think that concerning. Never give up the naps. lol Kids stop napping soon enough. I loved naptime. lol I still miss it. :D

 

 

My two reasons:

 

1. Most of the times I have met or read about people teaching very young children (which I define as 1-4), they are showing frustration and annoyance with their children because their children aren't performing according to the parents' plan. This is where the "My two-year-old's attention span for Euclidean geometry is not long enough for the lessons I planned!" comments come in.

 

2. Most of the times when I have met or read about people teaching very young children, they have taken materials suited for older children's developmental stages and tried to make their toddlers and preschoolers do them. This is where the "My three year old would rather play with toy cars than complete the 47 handwriting exercises it took me 47 hours to create! When is his innate joy in learning going to show up?" comments come in.

 

I have no problem with "teaching" young kids, but in my experience a lot of the people who "do school" with toddlers and preschoolers are just anxious to start homeschooling and try to replicate what school with a five, six, seven, or eight year old would look like. It's like people think that learning is only valuable if it happens within a structured program.

 

Tara

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I also think it's important to sort out why we want to teach young children. And whether we want to be able to brag. I don't think that's the most healthy motivation, but obviously that's not a universal motivator. But I've had many parents "confide" to me in many doctor's offices (for example) that their child is so smart because (cue the list). This is clearly an important thing to many American parents. It's hard not to absorb this even if you don't really want to.

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I also think it's important to sort out why we want to teach young children. And whether we want to be able to brag. I don't think that's the most healthy motivation, but obviously that's not a universal motivator. But I've had many parents "confide" to me in many doctor's offices (for example) that their child is so smart because (cue the list). This is clearly an important thing to many American parents. It's hard not to absorb this even if you don't really want to.

 

 

And think of how often the subject of unschooling kids and neglect by parents comes up here. People get so angry about how these parents do nothing while they do so much! They often do not acknowledge there are many ways to show intelligence even if not reading Harry Potter at age 7. If these children are in the world exploring their passions and experimenting and building skills in other areas, most formal school -at -homers don't want to know about it. Esp if these kids are not reading well yet.

 

Even though I am not a total unschooler, I figure at least these slacker & excited children (j/k) have had years to explore areas other children were never been given the chance to explore because they have had 8 hours of book work a day. Kids who have had used those hours to explore and work at what they find important have been given a great gift. The other stuff can come, and it will come for almost all of these children. Maybe not as soon as some parents find comfrotable, but it will come.

 

Some folks don't like to think that these unschooling kids who don't read Narnia or the bible until 11 or 12 are as good or as smart as their own kids, who have been working their little fingers to the bone at the kitchen table since they were 4 or 5. I notice unschooling success stories aggravate a lot people. lol

Edited by LibraryLover
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I just got home and finally read through all the posts :) There are some good points made here that clear up other people's thinking a bit more.

 

no naps being taken away here! In fact if anyone can give me some insight on getting a a 3yo to actually take his nap instead of bouncing off the walls in his bedroom for 2 hours I am all ears because I am sooo not ready to give up nap time yet :p

 

I do definitely agree with all of you that young children and even just children in general should not be pushed especially to the point where the parent or child becomes frustrated as that is not good for anyone and especially not good for learning! We are very laid back about our learning here and it is made to be more of a fun playtime with mommy then it is a class or teaching session. If a day comes along that DS just isn't in the mood then we skip that day no problems. granted we do have days where I get ready to put the math games away and DS will cry and beg to play some more.

 

IMHO for that Rat study to really apply for one it would have to be that the rats in question where interacted with and taught when playtime was taken away instead of isolating them. The rats were isolated with adults and did not receive ANY play period from childhood into puberty.

 

This is quite a different scenario then a child taking 20 min here or there to read or play math games. I know here with us we do have a big emphasis in play. In fact we have a huge playroom that is the largest room in our home and holds tons of imaginary good interactive toys like a play kitchen, a wooden school bus, a Thomas the train table and box of trains, a basketball hoop, a wood shop, tons of cars, dinos, ect. It also has a book rack filled with tons of board books. DS plays a lot! He plays from wakeup at 8 to probably about 11 then we read and it's back to play until lunch and nap. After nap we'll play some math games and it is back to play again until dinner. Come summer most of the time is spent on bike riding and playing in the playhouse or running amok in the yard.

 

There are some great points being made in this thread!! I love reading the different viewpoints of others as it engages me and makes me think as well as view things from another perspective :)

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I think you have to take into perspective how parents and children relate, too. For instance, I love doing "school" stuff...even as a child I did. My kids have tons of play time...the majority of the day. But even as two and three year olds they have structured school time (just very little bits of it). That's because this is how I'm best at playing with my kids...doing educational games, and matching things and counting and stuff like that. Starting schooling early hasn't made my children smarter or more advanced...just given me a great way to relate to them that all of us can enjoy.

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Aoife,

 

Two ideas about the nap/quiet time.

 

First, stay at home moms NEVER believe this but over 99% of kids will take a nap at 3yrs old (and it's still well over 90% at 4yrs old). It's a discipline issue. But daycare kids ALWAYS take a nap despite every stay at home kid "outgrowing" naps at 2. Daycare teachers are GOING to get their quiet time, their planning time, etc. They are going to get a little break from a bunch of hyper preschoolers. I think knowing this helps A LOT because mom knows she is being played so can just get a little stricter about insisting the child minds momma.

 

Second, but say you had the extremely rare child who really couldn't/shouldn't nap...or say that you weren't willing to insist on sleep....In that case, instead of telling him to lie down and sleep, give him a few appropriate things he CAN do (I assume hollering and bouncing around crazy wouldn't be on the list). Enforcing "stay in bed" or "play legos on the rug" or "which books do you want to look at today?" may be easier. That way you can get it quiet for you and he's getting a little break also. And there certainly is nothing wrong with playing legos or looking at books.

 

Anyway, I took after my mom. We had quiet time through the summer I was 10. I remember it vividly. We were allowed to do whatever as long as my mom couldn't hear us. We'd play battleship over the walkie talkies, listen to music, write stories, read books, make plans for later, etc. But we were in our room and out of mom's hair for a good while (I think it was only an hour at that age, but my kids did 2-3 hours when little).

Edited by 2J5M9K
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Children can learn all sorts of things without being required to sit down and do worksheets or other Official School Work. That's what bothers me the most: a young parent bemoaning the fact that her 4yo complains about having to do the worksheets, or gets frustrated when *required* to do the reading or arithmetic, or when she is horrified that her 4yo isn't reading "yet."

 

Learning, yes; school, no.

 

JMHO.:)

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Mm. And calling it "school" makes it sound like a legitimate reason to step away from housework in a way "playing with the kids" just doesn't have.

 

Rosie

:lol:

 

Aoife,

 

Two ideas about the nap/quiet time.

 

First, stay at home moms NEVER believe this but over 99% of kids will take a nap at 3yrs old (and it's still well over 90% at 4yrs old). It's a discipline issue. But daycare kids ALWAYS take a nap despite every stay at home kid "outgrowing" naps at 2. Daycare teachers are GOING to get their quiet time, their planning time, etc. They are going to get a little break from a bunch of hyper preschoolers. I think knowing this helps A LOT because mom knows she is being played so can just get a little stricter about insisting the child minds momma.

 

Second, but say you had the extremely rare child who really couldn't/shouldn't nap...or say that you weren't willing to insist on sleep....In that case, instead of telling him to lie down and sleep, give him a few appropriate things he CAN do (I assume hollering and bouncing around crazy wouldn't be on the list). Enforcing "stay in bed" or "play legos on the rug" or "which books do you want to look at today?" may be easier. That way you can get it quiet for you and he's getting a little break also. And there certainly is nothing wrong with playing legos or looking at books.

 

Anyway, I took after my mom. We had quiet time through the summer I was 10. I remember it vividly. We were allowed to do whatever as long as my mom couldn't hear us. We'd play battleship over the walkie talkies, listen to music, write stories, read books, make plans for later, etc. But we were in our room and out of mom's hair for a good while (I think it was only an hour at that age, but my kids did 2-3 hours when little).

We still have quiet time in our house for two hours every afternoon...the two-year old naps (most of the time; sometimes he stays awake and plays in his crib) and my eight-year old is basically allowed to do whatever as long as it is in a different room than me and quiet.

 

When my first stopped taking naps it did take time to train him to have a "rest" time during the day, but it is doable.

 

I don't anticipate stopping rest time any time in the near future!!!

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Children can learn all sorts of things without being required to sit down and do worksheets or other Official School Work. That's what bothers me the most: a young parent bemoaning the fact that her 4yo complains about having to do the worksheets, or gets frustrated when *required* to do the reading or arithmetic, or when she is horrified that her 4yo isn't reading "yet."

 

Learning, yes; school, no.

 

JMHO.:)

 

:iagree:

 

I only quoted Ellie, but there are a couple more that I could have (if I knew how to do multiple quotes:glare:)

 

I cringe every time I see a LONG list of acronyms after a 3 or 4 year old's name in a signature line. I also cringe when I see posts of the, how was it put, "Euclidian Geometry" sort and most all of those who post "it is ok" are those whose oldest child is in 2nd grade and UNDER. The posts of experienced homeschoolers with OLDER children who have BTDT are totally ignored. There are reasons while some of us who have BTDT post on these threads. We know now what we wish we would have listened to (by someone more in the know) then!

 

Of course, those of us with older children remember the great desire to see just what those little kids could do. Good grief! We don't tell you to relax and incorporate learning in play just because our little darling was not as smart as yours, so we couldn't possibly understand. My oldest was speaking complete sentences at 18 months, knew all colors and abc's by two. Could name dinosaurs most adults couldn't pronounce and tell you characteristics by 3, yada, yada, yada. I also started her in K before she turned 5 because she was so smart. I have come to realize that kids have 18 years to be kids, and then the real world begins, for the rest of your life! Let them have that time.

 

Geesh, I'm not against learning, obviously my dd learned a heck of a lot. But I am against book work. There is AMPLE time for bookwork. There is ample time for 1st grade math in 1st grade. You don't need it at 3 or 4. There is lots of math to be done without the book. Imagination is just as important as book knowledge.

 

Now if you are pulling out a little workbook when your little 3yo wants to play school. No biggie. As long as you realize that when she/he has done two problems and then they are done, then you are done. Not "oh, she/he didn't finish a book! *gasp*" Kids at 3-5 have (ususally) short attention spans for a reason.

 

And since I'm already going to get tomatoes thrown at me, :leaving: It really bugs me when someone posts about something and a mom who is homeschooling a 3yo or 4yo chimes in with "Oh, I feel the same way!"

 

I will climb off my soapbox now :rant: and leave you with one of my favorite quotes. It's from Jurassic Park and Dr. Ian Malcolm says "Yeah, but you... were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."

 

I really am a nice person, honest. :D And in the end they are your children to do with as you please. But you did ask. Again, I'm not against learning, just formal book schoolwork learning.

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:iagree:

 

 

Of course, those of us with older children remember the great desire to see just what those little kids could do. Good grief! We don't tell you to relax and incorporate learning in play just because our little darling was not as smart as yours, so we couldn't possibly understand. My oldest was speaking complete sentences at 18 months, knew all colors and abc's by two. Could name dinosaurs most adults couldn't pronounce and tell you characteristics by 3, yada, yada, yada. I also started her in K before she turned 5 because she was so smart. I have come to realize that kids have 18 years to be kids, and then the real world begins, for the rest of your life! Let them have that time.

 

 

Now if you are pulling out a little workbook when your little 3yo wants to play school. No biggie. As long as you realize that when she/he has done two problems and then they are done, then you are done. Not "oh, she/he didn't finish a book! *gasp*" Kids at 3-5 have (ususally) short attention spans for a reason.

 

 

I really am a nice person, honest. :D And in the end they are your children to do with as you please. But you did ask. Again, I'm not against learning, just formal book schoolwork learning.

 

LOL! But I agree.

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Angel. :001_smile: So true. I have felt a little braggy the last couple of days-- and what I am trying to do is point out that a lot of us with bright/gifted-schmifted kids manage to fuel our little geniuses ;) without early formal sit -down paperwork. My youngest has never attended school a day in her life. She didn't know to ask me for paper 'school work' as a tot. She has no idea what that was, even as she was exploring literature, math, science, history etc.

 

I admit, as she gets older I am pushing a little more in certain areas, namely writing and more formal grammar. I am torn about it. She is not in love with it, although she is starting to see the need for some of it, as she has high school -age siblings who are writing papers and working through higher math and such. She helps her sister study SAT vocab, and she has said things like 'Huh, so they really do want you to know this if you decide to go to a college requiring SAT scores". lol She was asking her dad the other day which schools didn't require them, and all he could come up with was "Harvard". Sweetly, innocently, she replied, 'Then I want to go to Harvard". lol

 

Which reminds me, I am going to to some research today and come up with a list of schools which do not require any test scores. Just for fun. What we have currently is a list of schools which interest my next oldest teen (we already got one through the process and into college), and all require the same things: 3 credits math, 3 credits science, with at least one lab, 4 credits English, 3 credits history, 2 credits foreign language, SAT scores in a certain range or ACT scores in a certain range etc.

 

It's easy with little kids! lol We just don't realize it when we are living it.

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.

 

It's easy with little kids! lol We just don't realize it when we are living it.

 

Ain't that the trutch:D I have figured it out a little more with my 2nd dd. Six years in between helped ;)

 

Good luck on the colleges that don't need ACT/SAT. I briefly looked up some last month. 15yo dd is most likely not on a college path and will not take ACT/SAT. I was curious where she could go without them if she changes her mind.

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I am in the camp with the previous posters that said formal sitdown work just seems unnecessary with young children. Even if they're asking for it (and I have one like that - loved seatwork of any type from 18 mos or so), there's no need to make it a formal thing. So much learning goes on just by living and talking and playing together!

 

Also, regardless of what studies might say, my concern with making "school" a formal thing with my young children is that it separates learning from living. I really don't want my kids thinking that learning is something they do when they're sitting at a table, or doing a workbook, or between the hours of 10am and 2pm. I want them to love learning in all its forms, and I feel the best way to do that is have a more integrated approach, especially in the very early years. I think this lack of separation is why my kids are so happy to do things that *do* look like school, and will even harass me to death over the stuff. (Last night at 8pm: "Mama, pleeeease print me some more sheets so I can practice cursive! When can I do them? When?" followed by big hugs and kisses and exclamations of "you're the best Mama ever" when I told her they'd be ready for this morning. Crazy kid.)

 

Having said all that, I completely understand wanting to "do school" with young kids, especially young kids who show an interest in academics, and especially when you're already sold on wanting to home educate. Sometimes it can be a test of patience to read about all this fun educational stuff and know you have to wait until your kids are old enough to be ready for it! And I know I've certainly had to sit on my fingers to keep from hitting that "submit order" button to keep from buying curriculum that we don't really need, just because it sounds so darn great! (But I was the kid that saved my gift money to buy dictionaries, so apparently I was born with that love of all things school-ish. No doubt where my daughter gets it from!)

 

It's really nice to see so many posts from people supportive of relaxing around the early years with littles. Sometimes it seems our entire culture wants kids to become mini-adults as soon as they leave the womb, and it can be really easy to get swept up in that mindset. It's great to be reminded by those that have been there just how quickly it really does go by.

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I wonder if people react because 99% of the time it's a new homeschooler asking the questions. Usually it's a mom whose oldest child is 3 or 4, and she's wondering if she's doing too little, or why her child isn't "getting it." Believe me, most of us have been that eager newbie who's super excited to start officially homeschooling! I also think we want to spare others from making some of the same mistakes we did.

 

I don't see anything wrong with providing learning opportunities for young, preschool age children. Maybe it's a matter of semantics. I don't homeschool my two year old. I read to him, I sing songs with him, I am teaching him to count and his abc's. It's not homeschooling, it's part of being a mom. But if I came on here looking for suggestions and describe what we do as math, reading, and music, people are going to offer me lots and lots of advice about not pushing too hard. :001_smile:

 

I haven't read other posts but I think you hit the nail on the head for many.

 

When my 1st dropped her morning nap, she started to get into trouble - too much time on her hands and didn't know what to do with it. I asked an older friend for suggestions and she said she did "school" with her kids which was crafts, puzzles, play-doh, snack...just something structured so they didn't have so much free time (trouble making time). So that is what I did and we called it "school" b/c that is what my friend called it. While we were coloring and doing puzzles, dd1 learned her #s and letters (from the puzzles) and sounds - I didn't see the point of stopping there - so that is why we started w/OPG, etc. "early". Now, 1 1/2 yrs later, I am told on these boards to not "do school" that young. It started out innocent enough people ;)

 

I use a curriculum b/c frankly, I don't know how to teach littles. I know that may sound silly to others but b4 I was a mom, I taught middle school so it's hard to wrap my brain around basics. So, I am doing Saxon K w/ my little girl and today we snapped blocks together and talked about colors and patterns...that was the "lesson". If I could have been able to come up with that on my own and we could have just played w/blocks, I could have been one of the parents saying "let them play!!!" but I'm not, so this is what I do. It is still play. Curriculum writers just dumbed it down for those of us who would not know what to do otherwise...

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It started out innocent enough people ;)

 

 

We started off innocently too.

 

It wasn't like I was rubbing my hands together with an evil grin and saying "ha ha ha!!! I'm going to home school my kids at A YOUNG AGE!!! AHAHAAHAHAAHHA!!!" (Wicked Witch of the West laugh following)

 

:tongue_smilie:

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Also, regardless of what studies might say, my concern with making "school" a formal thing with my young children is that it separates learning from living.

 

OOHH! I think that is the first time an argument for not "doing school" at a young age makde sense to me! THAT is definitely something to ponder..

 

Oh, and it also is something to ponder about the pride issue. I was just talking to a lady last night about my pride issue and how silly it is that I feel prideful that my babies are off the charts, that they get teeth at 3 mo, etc...really?!?! that has NOTHING to do with me! God made my children freakishly gigantic and I am feeling pride over that? Weird, I know. But it relates to hsing too. I think I started when I did b/c I was excited about hsing AND I thought they were ready but now that I have young ones reading, I have to keep myself in check that it was not me! It is their accomplishment and it is nothing to be prideful about! Just being real...

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Oh, and it also is something to ponder about the pride issue. I was just talking to a lady last night about my pride issue and how silly it is that I feel prideful that my babies are off the charts, that they get teeth at 3 mo, etc...really?!?! that has NOTHING to do with me! God made my children freakishly gigantic and I am feeling pride over that? Weird, I know. But it relates to hsing too. I think I started when I did b/c I was excited about hsing AND I thought they were ready but now that I have young ones reading, I have to keep myself in check that it was not me! It is their accomplishment and it is nothing to be prideful about! Just being real...

 

So what are you supposed/ allowed to be proud about? Why not feel proud of your kids and their achievements? I think Mammas are allowed to feel proud over silly things that we can't even take the credit for (like getting teeth at 3 months.) If we're not proud of our kids, who's going to be? We don't need to act on the pride in obnoxious ways, that's all.

 

Rosie

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