Common Misconceptions about Homeschooling - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There seem to be lots of people with lots of ideas about homeschooling but who clearly have never really given it any real research or thought. I know that prior to having my child I was guilty of this - lots of assumptions (you know what they say about those) and misconceptions. And that didn't really change until I started exploring this forum about 3 years ago. Now, we're a happy hsing family. So, I thought I'd start a thread addressing the many misconceptions about homeschooling. There many out there - and some currently being espoused on other threads at MDC.

Please join in and name a misconception that you come across that bothers you.

One that I keep seeing and hearing about is that a parent must be an expert in all fields in order to "teach" one's children. In response, I would say that I need to be responsive to what my child is interested in and follow his lead (exposing my unschooling tendancies, here ) and provide him with access to information that will further his "education". But I don't need to be an expert in every field. And I get to learn right along side him - if I so choose - thus acquiring new information myself. Also, are teachers experts in every subject that they teach? I don't think so. (BTW, I'm sure that those more experienced hsers can add to my arguments much more articulately than I just did! Please add away!!!!

The other is that one must "teach" ones' children. Of course, we're of the unschooling ilk so I find that my son teaches me more about how brains learn than I could ever teach him. I'm feeling more of the facilitator of information that a teacher - and boy that feels so right to me. And, I am aware that there are many homeschoolers who do "teach" their children. But that isn't the only way and I get really frustrated when people say, "Oh, I just could never have the patience to teach my child."

I could add more but I just want to get this thread started.

Please add away!!!

Peace,

Michelle
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#2 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 07:35 PM
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okay, can I put in a ditto for not being an expert? Few teachers in elementary school and high school are experts at what they teach. A 2nd grade teacher is an expert in all the subjects she teaches???? Our family is lousy with teachers from university level (dh) to highschool and elementary (everyone else). The elementary and highschool teachers aren't experts but that doesn't make them bad teachers. Being an expert doesn't make someone a good teacher, either. But I have to say that I find children are better at learning than being taught. I don't worry about whether or not I'm a good teacher but I especially don't worry about whether I'm an expert at something. Now, at the college level, expert may be good. But, I'd love to hear how many 4th grade teachers are experts. They might be really good at classroom management or 4th grade behavior but that doesn't come into play at home. You have only your child and you know your child better than anyone.
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#3 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 07:43 PM
 
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People seem to think you have to literally keep your kids "at home" all day - that's why they always bring up the S word - I don't even want to say the word!!!!

Single mom of 2 boys
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#4 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 07:53 PM
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They won't learn to get along with people from different walks of life -race, religion, shoe size. I've acually heard this about private school too.

We live in a pretty diverse area so I have to say this is easy. We get on a bus and SOMEBODY'S bound to say SOMETHING to ds, dd, or me about SOMETHING. You go to the bowling alley in the middle of the day - go anywhere in the middle of the day! - and people have time to stop and talk. Everyday, it's a new scene. New people, new conversations. And with the popularity of homeschooling growing- there are lots of kids to be found at the library, at the park. There are groups of kids that get together on a daily basis, weekly basis, monthly basis. Compare that to the school environment. When do the kids get to talk, where, to whom and about what? Oh, gotta go - the bell's ringing.
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#5 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 08:06 PM
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Religion is another common misconception. My physical therapist asked if we were Seventh Day Adventists. When I said no, she said "oh good, that's a relief, then you can stop hsing"
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#6 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 08:16 PM
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okay - gotta stop - just one more...
Homeschoolers are brilliant inventors destined for the Ivy Leagues and specializing in all things math and spelling related.
My son wants to drive a bus. He may do so with a degree from Yale but then again he may not.
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#7 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 08:42 PM
 
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"you're sheltering them from the real world"

"you must "do school" from 8-4"

"you are anti public school" (i'm anti any school )

"you must be rich to have six kids and be able to homeschool (ie only one income) "

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#8 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 08:48 PM
 
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"oh,how difficult for you! You must be as patient as a saint!"
-or-
"it must be hard to be so isolated all the time"
-or-
"homeschool kids are so smart! and well behaved! they NEVER act up like those kids from school"
hahaha
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#9 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 08:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hsmamato2
"oh,how difficult for you! You must be as patient as a saint!"
hahaha
I get this one all the time!

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#10 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 09:08 PM
 
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Ditto that home/ unschool kids are all perfect and constantly polite, etc. Whatever. We are human lol.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
peace.gif  Embrace the learning that is happening within the things that are actually happening!    
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#11 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 10:38 PM
 
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That homeschooling means one parent must be completely constantly devoted to the children, and never to his or her own pursuits.

Unschooling mama to DD1, 11/2001
and DD2, 11/2004
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#12 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 11:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji'sMom
People seem to think you have to literally keep your kids "at home" all day - that's why they always bring up the S word - I don't even want to say the word!!!!

Oh yeah, I love that one...NOT! There is another side to it too... I went round and round about this on another board. I answered the *S* word question (or more accurately accusation) by stating how my kids spend plenty of time out in the world with me and that they also meet with other kids by taking classes and playing sports etc. She countered that we weren't truly *homeshooling* then because we weren't doing all our learning at home.

It amazes me the misconceptions people have about homeschooling!
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#13 of 107 Old 01-04-2006, 11:33 PM
 
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-That homeschooled kids have no friends and spend all their time with mom and dad.

-That homeschooling parents have a *weird* attachment to their kids, are too overprotective and never let them out of their sight.

-How can you homeschool? You're not a teacher!

-That homeschooled kids will never learn to deal with the *real* world, which we all know consists of groups of same age peers who enjoy teasing and mocking you for not wearing the right brand of jeans.. *snort*
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#14 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 12:31 AM
 
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People often used to look at me with awe when I was out with my son and they heard that we homeschooled - "Oh! You teach him yourself?!" There he stood - a perfectly healthy and intelligent human being, and they're looking at me as it's just amazing that I can teach him what he needs to know. I'd just say, "Well, no - actually, he teaches himself." Which he did. And very well, I might add. Lillian
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#15 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 01:36 AM
 
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The one that made my jaw drop this holiday season and the ROFL was my aunt saying how she would have loved to hs her youngest, but she wasn't anywhere near as organized as I was. I stopped just short of asking her if she knew me. I am sooo unorganized, and everyone I know is well aware of that. A couple other people were talking about how organized I was to hs. ? And then the - "well at least you have a teaching background (I subbed in the district a few times) I know people that have no clue what to do with kids and they are hs'ing theirs"
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#16 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 03:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3momkmb
-That homeschooled kids have no friends and spend all their time with mom and dad.

-That homeschooling parents have a *weird* attachment to their kids, are too overprotective and never let them out of their sight.

-How can you homeschool? You're not a teacher!

-That homeschooled kids will never learn to deal with the *real* world, which we all know consists of groups of same age peers who enjoy teasing and mocking you for not wearing the right brand of jeans.. *snort*
I so agree with your post 3momkmb!

Take Care,
Erika :
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail..."
"Knowledge without compassion is useless"-SCW
"I am learning all the time, the tombstone will be my diploma"- Eartha Kitt

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail..."
"I am learning all the time, the tombstone will be my diploma"- Eartha Kitt
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#17 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 09:01 AM
 
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Ditto that home/ unschool kids are all perfect and constantly polite, etc. Whatever. We are human lol.
Totally! But, whenever they are not perfect, and constantly polite, etc. or things aren't going perfectly at all times - it's because you're homeschooling/unschooling them!
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#18 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 09:29 AM
 
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" We're not normal" because we hs,that the children won't know how to act around other kids,becuse we hs.....and this after 16 yrs : Going out in the middle of the day and getting the "what the're not in school" bs those are really my biggest peeves along with the other posts.Mostly though its just the herd mentality that if you weren't conventionaly schooled there's something wrong.........I'm really floored that most folks never really stop and think that theres any other way,better way,more freeing way,to provide an education than a mandatory 13 yr sentence in an institution.Heck,most murderers are out in five!
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#19 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 12:12 PM
 
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That my hsed sister must be a dropout b/c she's 14 and not in PS.

That even though I'm hsing my sis, I MUST have no intention of hsing my own kids.

That hsers must become experts in EVERYTHING since they have so much "free time" on their hands.

That "free time" of any kind is slacking, hsers MUST spend all the hours in the day learning.

:

Mama to two boys and a girl.
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#20 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 12:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by saintmom
".Heck,most murderers are out in five!

:
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#21 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 12:30 PM
 
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What I have noticed is that people seem to think that "school" teaches this body of knowledge that is necessary to live and function in the world, and that all the opportunities that "school" offers are, by their very nature, opportunities that all children should have to grow into a well-adjusted adult.

So people are worried that, for example, my kids won't learn what an oxbow lake is. (Honest! One of my friends really used this as an example!!) Or they won't get to participate in theater or sports.

A writer/runner/thinker/wife with two daughters (11/02 and 8/05), one dog, three cats, seven fish, and a partridge in a pear tree... in Vermont.
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#22 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 01:15 PM
 
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When I told a (smart and pretty crunchy) friend recently that we plan on home educating, his incredulous response was:

"But will he still learn how to read and write?"



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#23 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 02:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nancy926
What I have noticed is that people seem to think that "school" teaches this body of knowledge that is necessary to live and function in the world, and that all the opportunities that "school" offers are, by their very nature, opportunities that all children should have to grow into a well-adjusted adult.

So people are worried that, for example, my kids won't learn what an oxbow lake is. (Honest! One of my friends really used this as an example!!) Or they won't get to participate in theater or sports.
This one amazes me too. I hear parents talking in awed tones about all the things their kids are learning in school. (Just talking -- not debating hs or anything.) The undercurrent seems to be "Wow, they'd *never* get that information outside of school." My dd is only 5 1/2 and she has absorbed so much interesting information *already* -- from books, tv, radio, overhearing conversations, asking questions, and a few overt lessons -- that I'm just as amazed as my schooling friends at her level of knowledge. An engaged kid from a literate family will learn a lot no matter where they are, but very few people (outside of homeschoolers) seem to understand this for some reason. I fully expect we will run across the concept of an oxbow lake eventually, but *I* didn't learn about oxbow lakes in public school. Good thing for my kids that I took a college geology class!

Stephanie mom to Brianna (6/00) , Alexander (6/02) , and Ethan (9/07) .
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#24 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 02:55 PM
 
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It seems to me that the most important factor in the success of a child's education, whether at school or at home, is the attitude of the parent that s/he passes on to the child regarding said education.

I taught in an apathetic, lower middle-class public high school for 5 years and I swear we were looked at more as a babysitting service by the parents, and guess what? Most of the kids didn't give a rat's behind about how well they did either. You're less likely to find that with homeschooling because it really takes a huge committment on the part of a parent to devote that kind of time and effort to their child every day. Look at the Staples commercial that comes on in August: the parents skip merrily down the school supplies aisle to the tune of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Again, babysitting...

I've thought about homeschooling my child(ren) a lot, although I ultimately think I will send them to school. I'm not anti-homeschooling, I'd just like to give conventional school a try, though I will spend a lot of time working with my kids at home - I don't think it's all the teacher's job. Hoenstly, I think how my kid(s) do in school is more contingent upon me and my husband.

A lot of the mainstream has that knee-jerk reaction to anything different...homeschooling, non vaxing, breastfeeding, etc etc etc. Think of all of the misconceptions about moms who b-feed past a year or so, or to non-vaxers...

Not exactly what the OP was asking for but my $.02 anyway.
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#25 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 03:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties
The undercurrent seems to be "Wow, they'd *never* get that information outside of school."
Sorry if you've already seen this story here somewhere, but this makes me think of an incident just as I had decided to homeschool our son. He was in the 1st grade, and it was a very bizarre year. He was sick a lot, and one time when he was home, he was lying on the floor staring at a very dry high school physics class that was being broadcast on a public channel. The teacher was standing in front of a white board, and droning on with no enthusiasm. I thought to myself, "Poor little guy. He's so burned out that all he wants to do is completely veg out and stare at the TV." A few days later, after I'd decided to homeschool, I was at the kitchen sink when I noticed him talking to his dad over in the living room. He was waving his little arms around and talking very intensely. His dad was staring at him with what seemed a certain amount of alarm. He came into the kitchen awhile after that and said "Um...are you sure we really want to take him out of that school? I mean...do you realize what they're teaching them? In 1st grade! He was just in there explaining theory of atomic structure to me!" I cracked up. He had learned that the day he was sick - from that TV show - simply because it had struck his imagination - and it wouldn't have been at all the same if they'd been trying to teach it to him in that school. He hadn't had worksheets or quizzes - he had just been told something and - : miracle of miracles - his human brain and imagination had absorbed it without anyone standing over him seeing that he did it right! I think one of the most bizarre misconceptions about learning is that other people's learning needs to be orchestrated! Lillian
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#26 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 03:39 PM
 
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What always gets me is that everyone, it seems, knows a hs'ing family that has a 15 year old that can't read or some other such thing--like that has anything to do with me or is a representation of the homeschooling "norm" (a hilarious oxymoron in itself). Their concern is, "How do we know that homeschooled kids are learning the basics?"

I always think, "How do you know that public schooled kids are? Have you ever checked out illiteracy rates in this country? Where do you think *those* people came from? I'll betcha few were homeschooled."

Instead of worrying about the education of homeschooled kids, why not focus on the fundamentally screwed up ps system?

Homesteading Mama to homeschoolin' kiddos London (10) ; Alexander (8) :; Holden (5) :; and Sergei born at home 8/18/08
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#27 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 04:03 PM
 
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I guess the one that bothers me most is when people feel like a child will not understand or be able to deal with conflict when they are homeschooled.

Homeschooled children DO have their daily conflicts and problems to solve whether it's with siblings or groups of friends. What's different about it though is they usually get to learn how to solve them in a more constructive way since there is usually a caring adult nearby to guide them if it gets ugly.

Many schooled children, when confronted with bullying or unhealthy conflicts learn either to relent and act passively or to become bullies themselves. It's a survival thing. When they get out in to the big world, do we want a bunch of bullies or do we want people to resolve conflict in a healthy way with discussion, compassion, and logic?

I run an afternoon art studio for public schooled kids and when I see kids picking on others, I address it right away and I have to say, the kids doing the picking, seem actually relieved when I get all over them. It's like they have fallen into this roll at school and they don't know how to get out of it. When they know it won't be tolerated, it frees them up to be the sweet kid they are.

I think because of the ratio of adults to kids at school, so much unhealthy behavior goes on unnoticed. That is sad. It should be a time when a child's self esteem gets built up, not broken down.

I feel like that is why we may be seeing people act out their anger in such bad ways anymore where they take lives, commit suicide, or hurt themselves or others. They never got the chance to learn how to deal with anger. They get to the point where they explode. I would think that next to alcoholics anonymous and narcotics anonymous we may see anger groups forming in the future. Anyway, my point is that adults who defend this in public school see it as learning to deal with the punches of life and that is a good thing. I disagree.
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#28 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 04:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha_girl
What always gets me is that everyone, it seems, knows a hs'ing family that has a 15 year old that can't read or some other such thing--like that has anything to do with me or is a representation of the homeschooling "norm" (a hilarious oxymoron in itself). Their concern is, "How do we know that homeschooled kids are learning the basics?"
Funny you should mention that, because just the other day I read an email by an old friend who's son didn't effectively read till he was 16 (his sister, on the other hand, read at a usual age, and is in grad school right now on full scholarship). But the gist of the Dad's post about his son was that this boy has the whole world open to him. He and his girlfriend worked and saved money to go to Europe where they're working on organic farms for room and board through a group called World Opportunities on Organic Farms. They started in Ireland and are now in France. He spent his 21st birthday in Monaco and worked on a 400-1000 year old stone house and olive orchard in Nice. They went to Paris for Christmas and New Years and are now on their way to Amsterdam and then to Munich. He has an active interest in various kinds of bikes and alternative transportation and his dad feels he could help get people off our addiction to cars, or could be an artist, or continue his work with an outdoor teen adventure business. Or who knows - maybe all of those or something else. So you just never know what's really going on in other people's lives - sometimes what meets the eye or ear is just one facet of the jewel. Lillian
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#29 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 04:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha_girl
Instead of worrying about the education of homeschooled kids, why not focus on the fundamentally screwed up ps system?


And just THINK about the vast number of children that are affected by that whole mess compared to the numbers of children who might be affected by an inadequate education at home. Even if we were ALL screwing it up, we'd still be a drop in the bucket. It's absolutely astounding that people keep looking at our small numbers and supposedly worrying that we might turn out some "failures" into society. Good grief! The audacity! - Lillian
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#30 of 107 Old 01-05-2006, 04:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J


Funny you should mention that, because just the other day I read an email by an old friend who's son didn't effectively read till he was 16 (his sister, on the other hand, read at a usual age, and is in grad school right now on full scholarship). But the gist of the Dad's post about his son was that this boy has the whole world open to him. He and his girlfriend worked and saved money to go to Europe where they're working on organic farms for room and board through a group called World Opportunities on Organic Farms. They started in Ireland and are now in France. He spent his 21st birthday in Monaco and worked on a 400-1000 year old stone house and olive orchard in Nice. They went to Paris for Christmas and New Years and are now on their way to Amsterdam and then to Munich. He has an active interest in various kinds of bikes and alternative transportation and his dad feels he could help get people off our addiction to cars, or could be an artist, or continue his work with an outdoor teen adventure business. Or who knows - maybe all of those or something else. So you just never know what's really going on in other people's lives - sometimes what meets the eye or ear is just one facet of the jewel. Lillian
Slightly OT: Is this the same as Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF)? I went to the UK with them when I was 20, which led to a whole long chain of events, which eventually led to me meeting my DH. Definitely a great organization.
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