Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: thanksgiving

Every year, I stand in awe of the things my children choose to note that they are thankful for, and stand convicted in my perception of things (which is often way too complicated and even selfish, I’m ashamed to say.)

You see, my children are thankful for things that I don’t even realize they notice– our opening our doors to their friends, the closeness they have with each other, our home, their salvation, that they get to homeschool, David and me, etc. It’s fairly amazing that nothing they note is temporal or small. They are truly focusing on the things that are really important in life.

My takeaway as we sat around the table on Thanksgiving morning, dropping our kernels in our Thanksgiving candle was that I worry too much; I put thoughts in the head of my children that simply aren’t there; I try to “meet needs” that aren’t event that important to them; and I assume that I am not appreciated and sometimes even unnoticed when I simply am not.

I left our Thanksgiving table slightly convicted for my selfishness during the year– and for allowing the lies of the enemy to turn my heart far too often. But way more than my conviction, I left our table encouraged beyond words.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be called mom- and for the incredible privilege of being called a homeschool mom. I am thankful for the laundry I get to do, the meals I get to prepare, the chauffeuring I get to do, the conversations I get to have, and so much more; for God is using each of those opportunities to mold and shape the hearts and lives of the people I love most in this world.

We moms are truly most blessed, and I hope we will all be most grateful! As we conclude this week’s focus on Thanksgiving, I encourage you to read this tribute to a Homeschool Mom from her son. I guarantee you will be blessed, encouraged, excited, and motivated to keep on keeping on serving God right where He has placed you!

Click Here To Read The “Thank You, Mom!” article.

Joining You In This Blessed Journey!

Leslie

PS– I would be remiss if I didn’t take this chance to invite you and your family to join us for TTD2019. Our family would LOVE to see you there. and we are offering an incredible Black Friday weekend special that ends tomorrow night at midnight. You can save $15 off your family registration this weekend only, so please go ahead and register now using discount code BLACKFRIDAY15. Click here to find the convention nearest you and register now.
 
PPS– There are some other awesome Black Friday deals as well– I am mailing out quite a few signed copies of the Teach Them Diligently book in the morning (It’s on sale for $9 with free shipping,) and I would love to send you one as well. You can also save on Homeschool Subjects and Live Boldly Tshirts, Courses, DVDs and more! Get full details about all the specials this weekend by clicking here.​

PPPS– If you don’t get the reference to our Thanksgiving Candle above, you can learn more about that tradition by watching this video. You may also find other ideas about how to engage others in your homeschool this holiday season. :) 

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girl writing with laptop

Thanksgiving writing prompts for  middle school students offer a variety of ways to sneak a little bit of school into your hectic holiday-schooling days. Use the holiday excitement building in your home to make writing assignments more exciting as well.

These ideas will help get creative juices flowing. Let your student brainstorm others to add to the list. Make these assignments easy and breezy by requiring only a paragraph or two. If your student gets excited by a topic, you may hear pleas of, “Let me write more?” Who is gonna turn down an offer like that?Image result for turkey

  • If you had a pet turkey, what would you name it?
  • Write a list of things that remind you of Thanksgiving. Which are your favorites and why?
  • If you could make your own Thanksgiving pie, what would it be? What ingredients would you use?
  • Describe your perfect Thanksgiving Day!
  • Make a list of things you are thankful for.
  • Make an Acrostic Poem out of the word THANKSGIVING
  • If you could be in a Thanksgiving Day parade, what would your role be?
  • Talk about your favorite Thanksgiving Day foods and why you like them.
  • Write out clues for a game of ‘What Am I?’ to play on car trips. For example, use one of the list-building ideas above. Write clues for those items on slips of paper. Put them in a Ziploc baggie. Pull them out during the trip, and see who can guess what the items on your list are from your clues.

Topics may be meaningful, exciting, silly and funny.

If you want your middle school student to reflect on and  appreciate the deeper meaning of Thanksgiving use these prompts.

  • Describe an act of kindness you gave or received. How did that inspire you to be kinder?
  • What brings you joy? Why?
  • Describe something beautiful you enjoy. Why do you find it meaningful.
  • List 5 things you are good at and 5 things each family member is good at.
  • What are you thankful for and why?

Give your middle schoolers ways to express gratitude during this season. Include a theme like ’10 Days of Gratitude’. Create a thankful tree and have students hang tags on the tree listing things they are thankful for.

There are many ways to have middle schoolers express simple but meaningful ideas on paper when you use Thanksgiving-themed writing prompts. What prompts have you used with your middle schooler that received the most surprising or enthusiastic response?

 

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

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Do you want more articles on a wide range of topics like discipleship, academics, family, encouragement and general homeschooling?  Just click here to search the vast blog library!

 

Secrets to Making Writing Fun

Teach Them Diligently 365 members, listen to:

“Secrets to Making Writing Fun”

Writing can be an enjoyable activity for budding writers. This workshop will equip you with tips and ideas to use with elementary-age children during writing time. The result? Your children will not only produce polished writing projects, they’ll also be begging for the next lesson!

Become a member of Teach Them Diligently 365 for access to more!

Sign up for a free 7 day trial and explore the extensive content!

 

And don’t forget to register to attend one of the conventions coming up in Spring 2019!

 

 

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boy with paint on hands

Simple Thanksgiving crafts for preschoolers foster celebration and motor skills. Little guys are highly visual and love hands-on activities. Don’t be shy about using this approach.

Here are a few ideas to try with your preschooler. Remember, sometimes it’s okay to be messy. Messy is fun! It’s the process, not the product, that’s important.

Paper Turkeys

Begin with this easy paper turkey. Here are the materials you will need:

  • Multi-colored feathers (can be found at any craft and hobby shop)
  • Brown, orange, red, and white construction paper
  • Black marker or black Sharpie
  • Scissors
  • Glue

If you know your child gets frustrated with the cutting process, pre-cut the pieces. Have the parts ready to assemble onto the little turkey bodies. Be sure to pre-cut the eyes, wattle, and beak. The turkey body can take any shape you wish, including the one in the picture above.

Have your preschooler glue on their turkey parts and presto – a cute paper turkey. If you make one in advance for them to see, remind them not to worry about making their turkey look exactly the same. Their effort, and the fun they have while creating, matter more than the appearance of the final product.

Make the experience  more exiting for older pre-K’s and elementary ages. Foster fine motor skills when you let them trace the eyes, wattle, and beak. Allow them to cut out the shapes. Hint: the less fine motor control a child has, the larger the tracing templates need to be.

It’s okay if they don’t turn out perfectly. These imperfect first attempts will provide fond memories for years to come if you laminate the final products.

Handprint Turkeys

This is a fun but messier craft activity. Your preschooler will get a kick out of this one. You may experience a few giggles during the process. You will need:

  • Construction paper (red, brown, or yellow)
  • Fall color paints: red, yellow, orange, and brown
  • Googly Eyes
  • Glue
  • Paintbrushes

I like to get a paintbrush for each color that I will be painting on their hands. It may also be a good idea to have a small basin of soapy water on the table for quick hand clean ups when you are done.

Use brown paint to cover the entire underside of the palm and create the turkey body. Then, paint each finger a different color. This process may tickle and cause giggles and squeals. Grab a video camera to catch some of the laughter to playback next year for more giggles.

After the hand is ready to print, press down onto your desired construction paper color and press firmly. Dip those little hands in the basin of water you put out ahead of time to save yourself extra clean up!

After the turkey has dried, add on googly eyes and write what your child is thankful for in each feather. Laminate these projects for adorable Thanksgiving place mats. If you want more than one hand on the construction paper, you can paint both hands.

Sugar Cornucopia

This has been a definite hit with my preschoolers in the past. This fun to put together, yummy treat makes a great Thanksgiving Day table favor.

Gather your  cornucopia supplies:

  • Sugar Cones
  • White Frosting (edible glue)
  • Fruit shaped fruit snacks, Runts Candy, or fruit shaped cereal
  • Craft Stick

Place the white frosting in a small plastic bowl and use the craft stick to spread the white frosting inside of the sugar cone. After that has been completed, stick on the fruit shaped items and let set until frosting has hardened. This is a quick little edible craft. The results are awesome!

Egg Pilgrims

In addition to a few hard-boiled eggs, you will need these supplies:

  • Googly Eyes
  • Black Construction Paper (Boy Pilgrim)
  • Coffee Filters (Bonnets for Girl Pilgrims)
  • Glue
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Egg Carton
  • Yarn

After the eggs have been boiled and cooled, stick into individual egg carton holders. You can cut these apart or choose to leave them whole. Cut out little pilgrim hats from construction paper. Black top hats for boys and little bonnets out of coffee filters for girls. Glue on desired color yarn for hair. Then, glue on hats. Attach the googly eyes and let dry. Draw on the nose and mouth with a Sharpie marker.  You will have cute little egg pilgrims to decorate your table.

 

For more simple Thanksgiving crafts for preschoolers, visit http://www.123homeschool4me.com/2014/08/200-fall-crafts-kids-activities.html

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

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Do you want more fun articles on a wide range of topics like discipleship, academics, family, encouragement and general homeschooling?  Just click here to search the vast blog library!

 

 

A Hands On Approach To Educating Your Preschoolers

Teach Them Diligently 365 members, listen to:

“A Hands On Approach To Educating Your Preschoolers”

During this video session we will define the components of a quality preschool education, identify some of the important skills preschoolers need to learn, and learn how to create lessons and activities using a thematic hands on approach and look at lesson examples.

Become a member of Teach Them Diligently 365 for access to more!

Sign up for a free 7 day trial and explore the extensive content!

 

 

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hand holding a ball of the world

Middle school students are mature enough to begin thinking more deeply about Thanksgiving. They are able to complete more complex assignments about the related history. Thanksgiving unit studies for middle school students create hands-on learning opportunities when holiday excitement makes it hard to concentrate on text books.

Children who enjoy role playing may enjoy creating costumes and writing plays for friends and family to participate in. Costume making combines history and home economics subjects. Who doesn’t like getting two for one? Perhaps your reluctant writer will forget to be reluctant when carried away by writing the play?

Ways to Teach the History of Thanksgiving

Unit studies allow elementary and older children to work on the same historical time period together. Expand the requirements for an elementary unit study to make it middle school appropriate.

1)  Research Pilgrim-era games and teach them to younger friends and family during the holidays.

2) Create a timeline of Pilgrim leaders and other historical figures who lived at the same time, etc.

3) Identify the character traits, good and bad, of the major figures in the Pilgrim story. Did those traits help or hurt the person? Which of those traits to you see in yourself?

4) Computer savvy youngsters may want to create a power point presentation of their findings on a Thanksgiving related topic.

Nothing like knocking out two subjects with one assignment!

Resources

Visit the Thanksgiving unit study at 123 Homeschool 4 Me. Ideas include: costumes, quills, DIY marbles, Johnny Cakes, and book printables. I love the hands on activites included in this engaging unit study. Especially for a youngster who learns by doing more than reading, hands on activities make learning easier.

Want to teach your middle school student more about Plymouth Rock? Take the ideas from Fall Into First and create more challenging tasks for middle schoolers while working with younger ones on the same topics.

Love Pinterest? Amanda Bennett has a wonderful board of unit study ideas.

The website In All You Do offers a free printable Thanksgiving unit study for pre-K through 5th grade.

Field of Daisies has listings of poems, audiobooks, a play, science activities, and loads of cooking fun tucked inside the Old Fashioned Thanksgiving unit study. Math, music, Bible studies and  printables round out this wonderful resource.

Unit studies may seem challenging for moms who are more comfortable with text book based learning. The holiday season is a good time to try one on for size. Offer your middle schoolers the opportunity to use unit studies and broaden their understanding of colonial history while celebrating Thanksgiving.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

 

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Do you want more fun articles on a wide range of topics like discipleship, academics, family, encouragement and general homeschooling?  Just click here to search the vast blog library!

 

Free Resource – The 14 Day Starter Bible Devotional for Homeschool Moms!

Bible Devotional for Homeschool Moms

Focusing on the foundation of your homeschool provides a powerful anchor to direct your day and your school teaching to the Gospel. A short focus on the foundation at the beginning of your day will bear massive results.

  • MINUTES A DAY. 
    Each entry can be read in minutes each day.
  • FOCUS ON THE WORD. 
    It is amazing how other priorities fall in line when we get the foundation right each day. Starting with the correct priority will minimize distraction.
  • KNOWN FOR THE HEART. 
    Teach Them Diligently is known for addressing the heart of discipleship in homeschooling. Let us help!

 

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mom and children carving pumpkins

Squanto – Native American Interpreter and Guide

Squanto’s story provides a wonderful backdrop to talk to our children about character. It is difficult to find meaning in adversity. How can and does God work EVERYTHING together for good in our lives, especially when our struggles make no sense? The answer boils down to our world view.

Do we struggle to fit God into our plans or do we fit into His? Are circumstances good only when they bring ease and reward? Teaching perseverance and a godly worldview are solid steps to building Christian character in our children. Squanto’s story is a timely example we can use to help our children develop desirable character traits.

God’s Plans

God is the creator of all things, and the unfolding of history is His-story. He has a master plan for all of humanity: the rise and fall of nations, the preaching of the good news to all men, and the birth of babies who will become world changers. A homegrown world changer might be sitting around your kitchen table right now!

Squanto’s story poignantly reveals God’s sovereign plans. English traders landed in what was to become Plymouth, Massachusetts a decade before the pilgrims arrived. Wampanoag Indians came to trade with the Englishmen. Sadly, the traders took Indians prisoner and carried them to  Spain to sell them them into slavery.

Even in the midst of this tragic circumstance, God kept a young Indian boy named Squanto safe. A kind Spanish monk bought him, treated him well, and taught him the Christian faith.

Survival

In 1618, Squanto sailed back to America. When he arrived, an epidemic had wiped out Squanto’s entire village. Squanto survived because he had been sold into slavery and lived far away during the epidemic. God’s plan for Squanto’s life was far bigger than Squanto could have imagined. He would play an important role in birthing a new nation. God would use the new nation for good in the entire earth!

Imagine the shock that filtered through the Plymouth colony founders a year after Squanto’s return when they arrived on the shores of his home. Squanto approached and greeted them in English!

Governor William Bradford’s diary indicates he realized Squanto was a special instrument of good sent from God. Squanto helped the Pilgrims communicate with the surrounding Indian tribes and showed them how to plant corn and other crops. He helped them survive in the new land and stayed with the Pilgrims for the rest of his life.

Fun Pilgrim Hat Cookie Recipe

In honor of the redeeming love of God in Squanto’s life and the first Thanksgiving so many years ago, I am sharing my recipe for Chocolate Marshmallow Pilgrim Hats. What a fun way to teach your children about God’s faithfulness in building our nation! I hope these ideas will bring many opportunities for you to discuss Squanto’s life story in the context of  character training this holiday season.

These cute and tasty hats are a snap to make. Just dip marshmallows in candy coating and place on Keebler® Fudge Stripes™ cookies. Then, decorate with a little yellow frosting.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 16

Ingredients:

Directions:

1. For hats, place KEEBLER FUDGE STRIPES cookies, stripes sides down, on baking sheet lined with wax paper.

2. Melt confectioner’s coating according to manufacturer’s directions.

3. Use fork to dip marshmallows, one at a time, into candy coating, scraping excess coating from bottoms of marshmallows. Place one coated marshmallow on center of each cookie. Refrigerate about 20 minutes or until coating is set.

4. Tint frosting yellow. Use to pipe buckle on each hat.

To print out this recipe from Kellogg’s click here.

 

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

 

For more ideas on character training or Thanksgiving activities, you might like these posts:

A Family Thanksgiving Worship Service

Make Your Own Blessing Tree

 

To learn even more helpful homeschooling tools, click here to sign up for the newsletter.

Do you want more fun articles on a wide range of topics like discipleship, academics, family, encouragement and general homeschooling?  Just click here to search the vast blog library!

 

Free Resource – The 14 Day Starter Bible Devotional for Homeschool Moms!

Bible Devotional for Homeschool Moms

Focusing on the foundation of your homeschool provides a powerful anchor to direct your day and your school teaching to the Gospel. A short focus on the foundation at the beginning of your day will bear massive results.

  • MINUTES A DAY. 
    Each entry can be read in minutes each day.
  • FOCUS ON THE WORD. 
    It is amazing how other priorities fall in line when we get the foundation right each day. Starting with the correct priority will minimize distraction.
  • KNOWN FOR THE HEART. 
    Teach Them Diligently is known for addressing the heart of discipleship in homeschooling. Let us help!

 

 

 

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today
My heart is filled with thankfulness

My heart is filled with thankfulness

The lyrics of this beautiful song by Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend ring in my heart often. As we enter this month of focusing on thanksgiving, they serve as a great reminder of the many, many reasons our hearts should indeed be full of thankfulness.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again;
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow’r upon my heart.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly;
Whose ev’ry promise is enough
For ev’ry step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev’ry thought is love.
For ev’ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow him.”

“My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness”
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2003 Thankyou Music

You can purchase this song and other great Getty resources in the Teach Them Diligently Store. Click here to go to their page.

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Bless the Lord, O My Soul!

Psalm 103 is a very familiar passage around our home. In fact, we sing a good bit of it every day. Last week, though, as I read it anew, looking for the reasons I am called to Bless The Lord with my soul, my heart was thrilled as I rehearsed again all that God has done for me that is worthy of my praise! I hope this will be as encouraging to you as you start your week as it was to me as I ended mine last week.

In all these things we are called upon to Bless The Lord, for if His praise does not overflow from hearts and souls that love Him solely, it will never change us more into His image. What kind of an impact would it make on our families if we all determined to Bless the Lord at all times… if His praise were continually on our lips?

Bless the Lord.jpg

Praise Him for all His Benefits.

Don’t neglect to notice and return thanks for even the small blessings God bestows upon you! How different would our weeks run, if we paid such close attention to God’s blessings on our daily life that we never missed even a seemingly insignificant one. Bless the Lord, O My Soul!

Praise Him for His Forgiveness.

As a parent there have been many times when my forgiveness has brought reconciliation to the relationship between my child and myself that had been broken. (There have also been many times when the forgiveness has had to be extended from my child to me as well.) Often that moment of reconciliation is capped by a tearful hug– and generally laughter or great conversation as we revel once again in the love we share. How amazing to contemplate the overwhelming forgiveness of our Heavenly Father, the One Who will never need to ask forgiveness of us! He is always ready to forgive and welcome us back into precious fellowship with Him. What a reason to Bless The Lord, O My Soul!!

Praise Him For His Healing.

God is the Great Physician. He is able to heal all our diseases. He heals our hearts. He heals our families. He is all we need for this life and the next. Even when physical healing is not in His plan for us, He promises to give grace for every hour and peace that passes all understanding. Bless the Lord, O My Soul!!

Praise Him For Redemption.

Our first thought of praise every day should be for the great gift God gave through the redemption offered in Jesus Christ alone. He left the throne of Heaven to walk among the very men He came to save. What a wonderful Savior! Bless the Lord, O My Soul!!

Praise Him For His Steadfast Love and Mercy.

His steadfast love and mercy are concepts that I could meditate on all day. Steadfast love— love that never changes— is love that is not conditional on my actions or reactions, because it is perfect love. Wow! Mercy literally is compassion for the miserable, according to Eastons Bible Dictionary. Nothing could have been more true when we think of the mercy shown to us on the cross, even in our miserable, helpless state. God shows His steadfast love and mercy to us daily— Bless the Lord, O My Soul!

Praise Him For Satisfying Our Hearts With Good Things.

When I take the time to look around me, I can see very little but amazingly good things. God has provided all of those. He has given me more than I need and way more than I deserve. I can’t help but wonder, though, am I truly satisfied with those good things, or am I seeking more? Maybe it is time to add a heaping helping of gratitude for all those good things to those times I Bless the Lord, O My Soul.

Praise Him For His Mercy and Grace.

He is merciful and loving towards those who don’t deserve it. None of us are worthy of His mercy and grace, and yet He bestows it generously. His mercies are new every morning, and His grace is sufficient for every circumstance of every day. Bless the Lord, O My Soul!

Praise Him For Being Slow To Anger.

No comment necessary! Bless the Lord, O My Soul!!

Praise Him For Love That Is Beyond Our Imagination.

Love that is boundless. Love that is completely undeserved. Love that cannot be lost. Love that flowed freely along with the precious blood of Jesus at Calvary, paying our sin debt once and for all. Bless the Lord, O My Soul!!

Praise Him For Forgiveness That Casts Our Faults Out Of His Thoughts And Mind.

God does not bear a grudge! Hallelujah! My sins, though so many, are cast as far as the east is from the west when I repent and return to the Lord. He does not treat me as my sin deserves. What Love! What Grace! Bless the Lord, O My Soul!

Praise Him For His Compassion.

He loved me before I was even formed. He saw me in my need and made a way for me to live fully in Him and to someday live eternally WITH Him. How could I not Bless the Lord, O My Soul?

Praise Him For His Steadfast Love And Righteousness That Extends To All Generations.

Not only is His love for me amazing, but His love and grace and mercy and righteousness are sufficient for all mankind! His love extends beyond borders and has been displayed throughout the ages. Bless the Lord, O My Soul!

Bless The Lord, O My Soul!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul! (Psalm 103)

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Homeschooling Parents

About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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