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Homeschool Budget


Guest jodieanneanton
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Guest jodieanneanton

I know that you can homeschool on ANY budget... But, I am looking into the future and trying to work out a budget since home buying time is (finally) approaching for my family!

 

I'd love to know how much the classical homeschooling family spends per year on homeschooling expenses? What does that cost include? (how many children, what ages, extra curriculars, etc)

 

Thanks!!!

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One child - a son - age 5

 

Yearly budget -

Curriculum - $500

Private piano lessons - $960

Private Mandarin lessons - $1400

TaeKwonDo - $1068

Co-Op - $50

Enrichment Classes (Tuesdays) - $500

Enrichment Classes (Fridays) - $700

Total - $5178

 

Because DS is PG, we have to keep him challenged, thus he is involved in a lot of extra activities. The up side is that he has no problems with socialization due to being with different groups of children at different times during the week. Makes for a very adaptable child. :001_smile:

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From what I've seen, you're probably not going to get a good view of the average cost. Those who have money to burn and spend lavishly on their homeschooling tend to use these things as a massive bragfest and artificially inflate the average, I think. :tongue_smilie:

 

We haven't started yet, but I've been researching obsessively since my dd was born (I like to plan ahead). For the one child, based on what I want to use and what I've been able to find at the thrift store so far, we'll be spending probably around $200 a year. Including late fees at the library.

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We spend approx $200 on curriculum for the year. That is for one child but I buy a lot of things that can be used again. I think it will only cost about $50 per year for my younger kids. I also spend about $250 per year on activities and field trips. My husband teaches music lessons so we don't pay for those.

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Because DS is PG, we have to keep him challenged, thus he is involved in a lot of extra activities. The up side is that he has no problems with socialization due to being with different groups of children at different times during the week. Makes for a very adaptable child. :001_smile:

 

 

I know I'm probably revealing my forum abbreviation ignorance here, but what does "PG" mean?

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Those who have money to burn and spend lavishly on their homeschooling tend to use these things as a massive bragfest and artificially inflate the average, I think. :tongue_smilie:

 

Well this is surely going to get some response. :)

 

I think it depends on what you count as a homeschool expense. I don't really think of sports team fees or music lesson fees as homeschool expenses - we would spend money on those things even if our kids were in public school. And really to a certain degree, some of our "extras" would be things we'd have bought anyway. Board games, lego sets, books to read, art supplies and educational toys are expenses any intentional parent can incur. :) If we are seriously talking *only* curriculum...well then yeah it's not nearly as much.

 

Anyway, to the original poster - the amount you spend can differ greatly depending on if you use the library for most books or if you buy books for your history and science. If you use SOTW and your library you do history for cheap compared to buying a core from Sonlight, kwim? You just have to decide what's right for you. Our family has found that buying books is well worth it for us - when we own a book the kids continue to go back and look and them, read them, over and over again. And that's worth the expense to us. So we buy a lot of books and use the library for a few. I spent about $1000 a year for the first few years we homeschooled. That was for 2-3 kids and included buying a lot of manipulatives, educational toys and books to keep. HTH

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We budget between 700 and 1000 for one child. We made due with 100 one year. We believe in the investment of education, but we have a limited budget.

 

eta: Here's a blog post where I kept track of what I spent for this year and a small portion of last year. I've used most of everything I've purchased. What I haven't will get used in another year.

Edited by elegantlion
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I spent $80 on two children this year (preschool and 7th grade.) Next year I am looking at Teaching Textbooks for Algebra so if I can't find it used, it will be double for just that one subject then what I paid for everything this year.

 

I want good quality curriculum...but I don't want to pay a bunch for it:D There is good low cost and free stuff out there, you just have to know where to look.;)

 

That being said, I am looking at PR for my youngest. This is a quote from my friend, Boscopup, regarding my homeschooling ideas....I laugh everytime I read it!!:D

 

"Only in your family does the youngest of 5 get treated like the oldest homeschooled child! LOL!"

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I'm homeschooling one child, my 12-year-old son. This year, I spent $323 on curriculum and reading materials. As it turned out, we jettisoned much of what I had planned midway through the first semester. However, we replaced it with free resources, so it didn't cost anything extra.

 

I anticipate spending about $220 for next year.

 

I am not counting extra-curricular activities, because he would do those even if he were in school. But, in case it's helpful, I'll mention that he takes private voice lessons, sings with a choir, takes three dance classes per week, performs with a Glee-style group and does community theatre. I'm not going to tell you how much that costs, because I don't want to add it up!

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Like some others, I don't count ballet and tae kwon do and piano as homeschooling expenses because we would do that anyway.

 

I prob spend...300-400 on two kids last year. In some ways I spent a lot because I don't always buy used. Sometimes, it is worth it to just buy the darn thing new from Amazon. But, my husband is a librarian at a university and I borrow loads and loads of materials. So, what I can get used and via his work lets me justify buying LOF brand new.

 

I also reuse lots of materials for both boys. I am lucky in that they seem to share a learning style and reusing hasn't been an issue. Of course, my kids are young and 5 years apart so there is plenty of time for me to eat those words.

 

The past couple years, I spent most on math and science. The WWE and FLL books were also big expenses but worth it. History and lit come almost free. As we move though the middle school years and into high school, I expect that will stay about the same. Math and science will always cost the most.

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Curriculum is in my sig. I budget $500 per year but I probably spent closer to $750. I do not live in an area with an excellent library system.

 

Extra curriculars are:

$675 for tap, ballet and jazz lessons

$102 for costumes for recital

$325 per year for Karate +$40 for belt and testing +$50 for any tournament entries

$70 for private girls' club

 

I generally do not count the extra curriculars as part of the homeschool budget because we would be doing them even if dd was in private or public school.

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Our first year was by far the most expensive. I bought math manipulatives, several resources for teaching reading & spelling, tried out 2-3 different math programs ... I don't even want to really think about it.

 

This year was much less expensive, partially because I didn't have the same start-up costs, and also because I had a better idea of what would work for us. To prepare for next year, I've been researching curriculum and getting things through Amazon Marketplace for super cheap. My daughter HS'd last year, and I will re-use the science, math, and literature that she used, so that will make upcoming years even cheaper for my son.

 

I'd say $200-$300 would be a good amount to start with, if you've researched well and narrowed down what fits your teaching style AND your child's learning style.

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Our curriculum choices are in my siggy. I spend an average of $1000 per year on all curriculum for my one dd, but that includes all the resource books I buy new and used for our TOG studies. We don't have a good library situation either, so I stash away books in advance in order to have them when I need them. The good news is that I sell most of what I buy when we are done with it, and the money goes right back into more books.

 

I may spend more than some people, but dd is getting a wonderful education that is worth every penny. Compared to the cost of private school, it is very reasonable.

 

Blessings,

Lucinda

 

P.S. Oh, horse riding lessons are $100 mo. on average. No other extra curricular costs.

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I seem to average $1500 for curricula and basic supplies (the first wave of paper, pencils, white board markers, art supplies, etc.) for my 3 oldest kids. The bulk of that is for my 12yo, since the girls do several programs together and we have hand-me-downs now! I expect it to go up for high school.

 

I've failed at tracking other expenses through the year. Organized activities vary. Bookstore finds vary. Impulsive science purchases vary. Sometimes crayons get shoved into new printers, and some printers last for years. I'm sure I've probably spent as much as another $1500 in a year, and as little as another $300 in a year. Right now, I'm trying to cap myself at $25/mo in addition to our one-time budget. That doesn't include sports/activities that they'd do anyway.

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Hmm, probably $200-300 throughout the year, for all of them, total, but even that might be high. A good chunk of that is for whatever books and materials we can't get for free otherwise, and the rest is for art supplies, printer paper, supplemental manipulatives, co-op activities/classes, etc. I don't count dance class or museum memberships as part of the homeschool budget, because we'd do those anyway (and actually, we do more of the museum stuff on weekends when DH can join us), but if I didn't homeschool, I'd go through less printer paper, wouldn't need as many art supplies, etc., so those things I count.

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I think it depends a lot on the age and what sort of science we're doing. The older my DS gets, the more I spend on science.

When I was hs-ing both boys, I would reuse older ds's curriculum for younger ds - so I never really bought for more than one child.

If you average it out - I would say minimum $200, Maximum $400. This does not include the microscope we bought one year.....

 

ETA - I did not include sports, music lessons, or scouting - I would be paying for these whether we were homeschooling or not.

Edited by SailorMom
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My budget is $600/year (what I'm able to squeeze out of the grocery budget). I am able to pass down a lot of books, and I utilize paperbackswap to help get readers. My oldest is in soccer and cubscouts--that's an additional $200 or so a year. I wish we had the budget for piano lessons & other extra curriculars, but I'm also relieved that I don't spend my life in the minivan ferrying my children places.

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I'm buying what I can for DS's kindy year second hand. I did buy the wooden block/Judy Clock/optional items k-3 Saxon Math Manipulatives from RR, though... and that felt like a MAJOR splurge at $79. We're probably looking at $250-$300 for K & DD's pre-K together.

 

That's not printing supplies or sports/dance, though. So add in $75 for ink, and about $650 for soccer, swimming, gymnastics, and dance.... We're still sitting at about $1000 total.

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I have about $200 to spend for next year--this has to go for all three of the boys. The youngest boy will be using what the older two used around his age, so he is the least expensive. My total does not include the cost of karate for the two older boys, nor does it include pens, pencils, paper, ink, etc., since we would go through these things anyway.

 

We use the library a lot, and we are using many freebies from online (MEP math, google books, archive.org, librivox.org....) White boards and dry erase markers are our good friends. The more expensive stuff I try to buy new or gently used, because it has to go through five kids here.

 

ETA: One year we did spend $600--another year about $350; this year my homechool savings has been eaten up by vehicle and home repairs, so I will be lucky if I do get all of that $200. Necessity is becoming the mother of invention...

Edited by Zoo Keeper
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I'll up the average. Our budget has been $1200 for the 6 years we have been home schooling and it will be the same next year. $100 per month is about what we spent on our dd's preschool so many years ago, and we just kept putting that amount into our home school account. This amount makes it easier for me to teach the way I want to teach--nice home library, multiple curricula for some subjects, etc. Much much cheaper than private school--no guilt here!

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I have averaged about $1000 since I started homeschooling 11 years ago even though I now have 4 students instead of 1 or 2. In the first few years, it was because I was zealous buying every new thing under the sun and I bought the expensive programs because they MUST be the best. Now I buy what works. Sometimes that is expensive, such as 'Heart of Dakota' for just one of my daughters and sometimes it is inexpensive, such as 'Christian Light Math' for all of my daughters. I will be adding in my last child next year so I expect my costs to slightly increase, but not by much.

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I spend about $1500 for three children. I could make it less if I didn't buy the Latin DVDs. I really don't buy used, or use the library. (I have horrible allergies!)

 

I am not including the costs for extra activities or outside classes.

Edited by Jan in SC
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I will be schooling 8 next year.

 

High school is significantly more expensive. I am planning to spend approximately $1000 just on foreign language classes for my oldest three. (a little over $300 per kid for the year, plus books. And i might not be able to find classes in that price range.) If we can't afford it for 3, I will only do it for the oldest two, who it is absolutely a necessity for. The third can wait a year if we have to.

 

Then there are testing fees. residual ACT, $40. CLEPs $180 plus study materials each. Lab equipment $300. (bought last year). Biology specimens ($80)

 

I'm considering Potter school aviation science for my second born since OU closed their high school offerings. That's another $300 ish.

 

Plus other subjects. I have a significant portion on my shelves already, so that helps tremendously this year. The years when I didn't have what I needed already and couldn't find it donated or borrowed or used? Let's just leave the cost at yikes.;). Now that I'm in our third year if high school I feel a bit more settled. But the first couple of years, I spent a lot if money just learning the ropes. I'd try to find two or three algebras bc I had never seen any of them and didn't know any other high school homeschooling parents. Now i've seen quite a bit and have a better idea of what's out there and what we need.

 

All total for all 8 kids next year - minimum would be $2k, and we would have to figure out some way to cover some expenses spread out over the months. I could do everything on my list with a bit of wiggle room on $4k, 3k of that is mostly for the oldest 2-3.

 

Last year we spent $1500. But there were ZERO outside or online courses at all. That included $600 for band, but not the $300 a month for ballroom dancing. Otherwise, that was all materials to use at home under my instruction. And most of it was purchased used.

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Here's my plan for fall with prices. Anything that does not list a price is either free or I already have. In addition to what's listed, we read most of the sonlight selections but I get them from the library.

 

I'd say on top of this, I spend $300-$500 over the course of the year on extras like supplies of paper, printer ink, art supplies, extra books, Scholastic $1 sales, the occasional currclick purchase, and other impulse buys. Oh and the total below does not include any possible shipping charges.

 

WWE2 $21.73

HO & SOTW1 (2nd half)

Singapore 2A&B $51.20 x 2

MEP 2

Math Mammoth 2A&B $16.50 X2

Atlier Art Value Pack VP-1-D $92

Meet The Masters $29.95

Galloping The Globe

FLL2

MCPb

OPG

Phonics Road 2 $199

Pathway Readers/Elson? $35/$24

Elemental Science Earth/Space $16.50/$51.00

R.E.A.L. Science Earth/Space $38.99/$50.00

Latin For Children A $105

Handwriting/Copywork

 

$798.62

 

And then of course we have piano lessons, soccer and supplies and soon martial arts classes. We try to do most of our field trips for free with passes from the library.

Edited by Cindyz
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When my kids were younger I spent around $200 or less for each of them. High school tends to be much more expensive, especially if you do an online class or two. This year my budget for all 3 of my kids was $1700 (forth grade, seventh grade, ninth grade). That doesn't include sports, art classes or things like that; we would do those even if they were in school. eta: This isn't bragging, I spend less than most of the people in my circle. A lot of them do full Sonlight or other boxed curricula. A lot of them do more online classes than we do. A lot of them have private tutors for subjects like language.

Edited by Mrs Mungo
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I spend $20 - $200 per subject (which includes the cost of printing ebooks). More expensive subjects are generally resusable for the next kid (Phonics Road, literature and history books, and IEW). I have five kids, four of whom are doing school. I spend the most on my oldest, but I like to choose things that can be used by the younger ones. I spend around $1000 per year on average. Some years I spend more, some years less. I've had some expensive mistakes, too. :tongue_smilie:

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We are about in the $200 range as well. I can see how it will probably be more expensive as the kids get older. I buy used as often as I can and we follow Ambleside Online so most of that is free. I don't really factor in copy paper, pens and pencils either. Those I pick up when we need them for only a couple of dollars so I don't need to budget for that. We use SWR for spelling. The initial cost was $100 but that will last for as long as we need it. The only additional cost each year are composition books for about 50 cents each. Math is the spendy thing for us right now. I bought Saxon materials used but still have to buy the workbooks new each year. We have a fairly decent library but sometimes I end up having to buy books because someone keeps putting holds on the ones we need and I can't renew them. :glare:

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Just one so far-

about $500-$750 last year and likely about the same this year.

 

Most was books to add to our library collection, our local library(which is still 30 min away) doesn't have a good selection of classics. I buy everything I can used, so I get more bang for my buck. I scour yardsales and Goodwill as well for whatever I can find. I just spent $450 but have less than $50 left to purchase what else I need for the rest the next year, although I will probably buy more books and such.

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I will be schooling 8 next year.

 

High school is significantly more expensive. I am planning to spend approximately $1000 just on foreign language classes for my oldest three. (a little over $300 per kid for the year, plus books. And i might not be able to find classes in that price range.) If we can't afford it for 3, I will only do it for the oldest two, who it is absolutely a necessity for. The third can wait a year if we have to.

 

Then there are testing fees. residual ACT, $40. CLEPs $180 plus study materials each. Lab equipment $300. (bought last year). Biology specimens ($80)

 

I'm considering Potter school aviation science for my second born since OU closed their high school offerings. That's another $300 ish.

 

Plus other subjects. I have a significant portion on my shelves already, so that helps tremendously this year. The years when I didn't have what I needed already and couldn't find it donated or borrowed or used? Let's just leave the cost at yikes.;). Now that I'm in our third year if high school I feel a bit more settled. But the first couple of years, I spent a lot if money just learning the ropes. I'd try to find two or three algebras bc I had never seen any of them and didn't know any other high school homeschooling parents. Now i've seen quite a bit and have a better idea of what's out there and what we need.

 

All total for all 8 kids next year - minimum would be $2k, and we would have to figure out some way to cover some expenses spread out over the months. I could do everything on my list with a bit of wiggle room on $4k, 3k of that is mostly for the oldest 2-3.

 

Last year we spent $1500. But there were ZERO outside or online courses at all. That included $600 for band, but not the $300 a month for ballroom dancing. Otherwise, that was all materials to use at home under my instruction. And most of it was purchased used.

 

WHEW! I was beginning to think I was one of those braggarts mentioned upthread. I spend more than most people have listed here. My oldest is 13, though, and I am finding that I spend significantly more on her than on the others. I consider myself to be rather frugal.

 

I guess one's budget kind of depends on why you homeschool. I homeschool to give my kids a superior education that is custom-tailored to their individual learning style. I have one daughter with a lot of medical issues, three of my kids have learning disabilities, and two of my kids are gifted (one profoundly gifted). I also work from home (I'm an attorney.) Between work, therapy appointments, and chasing after my 3 year old and toddler, I don't have time to go to the library (which is not that good anyway). I don't have the desire to teach the same math lesson in three different learning modalities every day and then to grade papers every night.

 

We live in a rural area where there is very little free stuff to do. My friend who lives in the city takes her kids to free activities, museums, homeschool gatherings, etc., all the time. I don't have those same opportunities for my kids, so I have to accommodate those educational areas in other ways, which often (though not always) means spending money.

 

My husband and I decided early on to set our homeschool budget at what it would cost us to send one child to our local cs. That started out at $2500 per year, and is now just shy of $4,000 per year. I use that money for curriculum (like Sonlight and Moving Beyond the Page), online classes (like ALEKS), memberships to the zoo and science center, and some computer programs and other techno stuff for my daughter who is PG but has serious dysgraphia.

 

I am schooling 4 (and a half) kids for that amount (my 3 year old does some pre-k stuff at the table with us a couple of times a week). I think that we're managing our homeschool budget quite well.

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We have four children and have an annual budget of $600.

 

Some years, things are more expensive, but I find that it averages out to about $100 a kid. In fact, we just switched curriculum this year opting quality products that could be reused instead of expensive workbooks that can't be used again easily. So $400 a year for core curriculum for four kids. Our youngest may only need $20 in curriculum in a year (since other items have been reused) so then it's easy to add more to another child's order and vice versa.

 

It's been so nice to have that extra $200 a year to play with once our core curriculum items are covered. This year we are going to spend it on science supplies and used books. There is an amazing used bookstore in the central library here (only 1 block from my work). Over lunch I am able to get books that are never more than $75 - $1. I use this to fill our home library, buy reference materials, and all of our "extra" books to enhance science, literature, art, language, and history.

 

On top of that we enjoy one membership (zoo, museum) a year for another $100 (not included in the homeschool budget since we would do this anyway).

 

I have found that the years I spent more, the more it was wasted on things we didn't get to or were not good products. Homeschooling is quite a market and it can be easy to get lost in it. We've found a good balance now for our family.

Edited by ezrabean2005
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I have to minimize how much we spend, or I could reasonably spend $3000 on 3 kids K, 1st and 3rd. Reasonably, meaning that I wouldn't be spending $ on "oopsies" or things that wouldn't get used well.

 

I have whittled it down to about $700-$800. I could do it for less, but I would be giving up some things I find important. As it is, I'm making up in time (and then some) for what I'm saving in $. I could do the bare bones for pennies...but I HS b/c I want my kids to have MORE than a bare bones education.;)

 

I don't think it's being a braggart to spend on HSing, even if it is a large amount (which is relative). Some people are juggling HSing amongst a LOT of "life" and simply cannot spend the time. (Programs like SL or NOEO are $$$, but if it means mom can HS while maintaining the billion other things, there is NO shame in that!) Sometimes a child has an LD that requires pricey programs. NO shame in that.

 

Now, if you want to talk manicures and designer clothes, I'll rant away with ya'...:tongue_smilie:

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I'm working on my list for next year...right now it's up to $449, but that doesn't include history or science. I'm sure I'll spend more than $1000 (for 3 kids, 5th, 3rd, and 1st grade) when all is said and done. And then we do extracurriculars, but not many--mostly Spanish and soccer.

 

DH is a high school math teacher, so I certainly don't have "money to burn," but buying stuff for school is one of the last places I cut back. I'd prefer to save money in other ways and be able to splurge when it comes to buying curriculum.

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My dd (13) does lots of extra-curricular activities, especially music lessons. She does flute, piano, violin, orchestra, performs in musicals, and does gymnastics.

 

If she were in school, we wouldn't be doing most of these extra activities. She would have the school musicals and PE class in school and she wouldn't play as many instruments. She would probably just do violin lessons and the youth orchestra if she were in school.

 

So, unlike some of the other posters, I do consider the extra-curriculars to be mostly homeschooling expenses. Because if she were in school, she would be doing the school extra-curricular activities instead of the private activities she is currently doing.

 

There is no way she could keep up the schedule she currently has if she were in school and also had to do all the homework and school activities. We do them partly because she is homeschooled and an only child and just staying at home all day all the time with mom is boring. Doing an activity or two per day makes the day much more interesting for her.

 

So, we spend about $500/month on extra-curricular activities. The homeschool books cost practically nothing in comparison. We probably spend about $200/year. Except we got Rosetta Stone, which cost $500, but we can do 3 levels on it, so the cost over 3 years of use isn't that great.

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