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Curriculum, Schedules, Checklists 2014 – 2015 5th, 8th, and 9th Grades

We are very hands-on (Montessori-ish) homeschoolers and have been homeschooling for five years, headed into our sixth! This article is all about our homeschool curriculum, schedule and checklists for 2014-2015. My boys are in 9th, 8th and 5th grades. Since Chase and Gage both are taking high school level classes, we are now at the point where we are using transcripts. Thankfully our umbrella school, HomeLife Academy makes it easy with their new AppleCore Reporting System!  You will notice that their schedules have changed DRAMATICALLY from last year.  If you haven’t read my post 18 Summers yet, that is the best way to explain what has happened…

2014-2015 homeschool curriculum, schedules, checklists

That being said, we can’t change our stripes too much!  So, you will see on my boys’ daily checklist they still have a variety of daily chores they do from vacuuming to washing clothes. And they regularly swap out chore lists to allow them to learn all aspects of running a home. We have also taken practical life skills to the next level with a focus on entrepreneurship.  I just received my Lemonade to Leadership curriculum from IEW. We will be using it this summer. Gage’s business (Deluxe Clucks) is firmly established and he is selling eggs and starting to sell chicks.  However, Chase and Blake’s businesses still need to be identified and developed. So, we thought the Lemonade to Leadership study would be great to help kick their creative juices in! You’ll notice the activities associated with their business are built into their work plans as well.

Disclosure

Since two of my boys are taking high school classes, I created a High School Course List for the high school courses (required and some electives) recommended byHomeLife Academy for students who plan to attend college.  (NOTE: Be sure to check what is required for your state. These are for my state, TN.)  My boys are planning to attend Christian Brothers University in Memphis. So, I am also checking with the University to determine what they expect from incoming homeschool students, academically.  Many schools now have their catalogs online so you can see what is required.  Also, my boys will be taking CLEP exams to test out of some college courses. Each college allows a different amount of CLEPs… so be sure you know the maximum allowed to transfer in. CBU happens to be 30 hours.

So, yes, I have dramatically cut back their schedules this year. They are getting in their 4 hours of school required by the State of TN (plus some) in the mornings. The afternoons are for other pursuits. Their business endeavors, development of personal interests (photography, computer programming, etc.) and just being able to have fun and enjoy being a child still. Time to build forts, or ride their scooters or bikes, explore the woods behind our house or hangout with a great book… any and all of these do happen on a regular basis now and most likely will continue.

So, let’s get to their schedules, classes, curriculum, checklists, etc. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or email me!  I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have!

Chase – 9th Grade

Chase 2014

Chase is my oldest son, he is entering High School officially (although he earned quite a few high school credits over the last couple of years). I have attached his schedule in Word. If you want to modify it to fit your needs, feel free to! Work Plan Chase 9th b.  The boys like having a daily checklist and it helps me keep up with where they are. Here is one that I created (in Word) for his 9th grade year. Chase Daily Checklist 2014 – 2015

The courses Chase is taking are listed below:

Gage – 8th Grade

Gage 2014 e

Gage is my middle son, he is actually in 8th grade, but has been taking high school level classes since last year as well. He has earned a couple of high school credits already and this year, almost every class will be for high school credits. I have attached his schedule in Word so you can modify it to fit your needs also. Work Plan Gage 8th b.  Here is Gage’s checklist as well. Gage Daily Checklist 2014 – 2015.  You will notice that Chase and Gage’s class list is almost exactly alike. However, there are a few differences. Gage is early in Algebra 2, Apologia Biology not Chemistry, Lower levels in All About Spelling, Exercises in English and Vocabulary in Action.

 The courses Gage is taking are listed below:

 Blake – 5th Grade

Blake 2014 b

Blake is my youngest son, he is in the 5th grade. I have attached his work plan / schedule in Word also. Work Plan Blake 5th b.  Here is checklist as well. Blake Daily Checklist 2014 – 2015.

The courses Blake is taking are listed below:

I have a Curriculum spreadsheet that I use to track what all the boys are taking (and have taken) all the way through high school. Keep in mind, it changes regularly… but it does give me a framework to work within and helps me identify gaps.

I hope this article and the free printable documents will be a blessing to you and your homeschool!

Until next time…

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Homeschool Curriculum, Schedule and Checklist 2013 – 2014

Homeschool Schedules, Curriculum and Daily Checklists 8th, 8th and 4th Grades

Disclosure

We are very hands-on (Montessori-ish) homeschoolers and have been homeschooling for four years, headed into our fifth! This article is all about our homeschool curriculum, schedule and checklist for 2013 -2014. Chase and Gage both are taking high school level classes so we are now using transcripts. Thankfully our umbrella school, HomeLife Academy makes it easy with their new AppleCore Reporting System!

So many people think Montessori homeschooling is akin to chaos or unschooling without structure… But that is just not accurate, as you will see with the boys’ curriculum and schedule! It is FAR from unschooling and nothing remotely close to chaos! I have included with each of my sons’ curriculum section, their schedules and their daily checklists (which includes their home chores). Montessori focuses on independence in education and the realization that we are life long learners. The tools we are using (schedules and daily checklists) are very effective at keeping them on track, holding them accountable and giving them freedom within their daily schedule. You will notice lots of study halls on their schedules. With the exception of those virtual or co-op classes that have specific times that the boys must attend at a specific time, we allow them to do their work at any time each day, as long as it is done that day. Thus the study halls sprinkled throughout the day allow for that flexibility.  

Another aspect of a Montesori education is a particular focus on life skills. You will see on the boys’ daily checklist a variety of daily chores they do from vacuuming to washing clothes. And we regularly swap out chore lists to allow for the boys to learn all aspects of running a home. We have also taken practical life skills to the next level with a focus on entrepreneurship. We realize our children will be part of the next generations’ leaders. We believe they will be the generation that gets America back on the right track, from a spiritual, economic, moral, government and academic perspective. So we are teaching them the skills they will need to achieve that goal! Each of our sons has their own business.  Their businesses focus on agriculture simply because we live on a farm (and it is a great, wholesome and healthy place to raise boys). So, it is natural for all of their businesses to be farm-based… thus we call it “farmschooling”. However, if we urban, they might not have these same businesses, but they would have some sort of business to teach them about capitalism!  

We have gotten a bit creative in how we encourage the boys to grow their writing skills… we allow them to blog about their businesses and our homeschool on our homeschool blog. All comments on our blog are moderated by me and all of their emails forward to me, so it is very controlled and protected (as much as they can be in this fallen world). The boys are really loving this new avenue of communication with the outside world called social media! It will be a part of their world when they are grown, so we might as well teach them how to use it responsibly now!  

All of our boys have a focus and desire to go to college, so you will notice they are pretty aggressive in their workload. This is primarily based on what they are capable of. Do not use our classes or our schedule as a model of a typical child in these grades. Children all learn at different levels and at different paces. Don’t ever prevent your children from running ahead if they want to. My yougest son wanted to do algebra in 3rd grade because he was chasing his older brothers.  So we let him. He has since just completed the Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra curriculum (in third grade) and has started the Teaching Textbooks Algebra before entering 4th grade. Let them run and only slow them down if they are setting themselves up for a huge failure that you know they would not recover from. Don’t forget what our founding fathers were by the time they were sixteen years old. Be sure your children research them and know their character!  We have got to realize, as a society, we have failed miserably in preparing the next generation. It’s up to us to turn this around!  

I can assure you, we don’t have homeschooling or child-rearing figured out, but we are in a pretty good place right now.  We are so very blessed and realize where this peace and prosperity originates!

If you have any questions, leave a comment below or email me!  I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have!  

Chase 8th Grade Curriculum

8th Grade

Algebra 2 (VideoText)

Exercises in English H (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action H (Loyola Press)

All About Spelling

Classics Club via Virtual Homeschool Group

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Biology (Apologia) via Virtual Homeschool Group

Spanish II Descubre via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW)

Photoshop via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing: Blogs at www.LiveAndLearnFarm.com and Teen Book Reviews (Psalm onenineTEEN Reviews)

8th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grades

Gage 7th Grade Curriculum

7th Grade

Algebra 2 (VideoText)

Exercises in English G (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action G (Loyola Press)

All About Spelling

Classics Club via Virtual Homeschool Group

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Physial Science (Apologia) via Virtual Homeschool Group

Spanish II Descubre via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW)

Illustrator via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing Blogs at www.LiveAndLearnFarm.com and chronicals his business and homeschool at Deluxe Clucks

7th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grade

 

Blake 4th Grade Curriculum

4th Grade 

Algebra 1 (Teaching Textbooks)

Exercises in English D/E (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action D/E (Loyola Press)

Handwriting without Tears Cursive

All About Spelling

Study of Classics 

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Exploring Creation Physics and Chemistry (Apologia) 

Spanish (K-6) via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW) NOT REQUIRED

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing Blogs at www.LiveAndLearnFarm.com 

4th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grade

Curriculum spreadsheet for all three boys that we use as a GUIDE to keep us on track.  

Homeschool Daily Checklists

BrimWood Press Worldview Curriculum

 

Brimwood Press

 

Disclosure

We are so excited to be one of the homeschooling families that will be reviewing BrimWood Press’ Worldview curriculum, designed for students in 5th through 8th grade. The curriculum is only four lessons and the lessons are presented through stories (similar to Henty books), with hands-on activities and discussion questions.

Being Messianic, it has been a challenge to find a worldview curriculum that matches our beliefs, so we can’t wait to start this curriculum since it is written without any particular denomination slant! This could be the answer to our challenge!  So many worldview products dismiss the “Old Testament” and that is completely unacceptable for our faith!  

The products we will be reviewing are:

BrimWood Press Young Historians Intro to Worldview A Young Historian’s Introduction to Worldview

This is the book we will start with.  It is only four lessons long but this is where we learn the meaning of what a worldview is, how it impacts our culture and history, and how important it is to our daily lives.  A person’s worldview effects how they view every challenge, every hurdle, every thing both positive and negative that happens in their life and actually, life itself … so its importance cannot be overstated.  This book will introduce my children to the basic core beliefs of four worldview families:  Naturalism, Pantheism, Monotheism and Polytheism and within those categories we learn about the various religions (i.e., Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Atheism, etc).  It uses hands-on activities to teach the abstract concept of worldview, which of course is so like a Montessori friendly curriculum!  The guide includes an eighty six-page workbook, nine pages of cardstock, pre-cut wrapping papers and three 6″ x 6″ boxes.  Oh and 3d glasses!  I can’t wait to see how this comes together!  

BrimWood Press Secret of the Scribe SetBrimWood Press has a new series of historical novels entitled “Engaging Thinkers” that further develops the worldview investigation. This series reminds me of the Henty books.  Each novel introduces the worldview of various religions that are completely without our Messiah.  The main characters all deal with life struggles and we learn how they evaluate and explain these struggles through their particular worldview and religion.  We will only be reviewing the novel for Ancient history, but there are four novels, covering major chronological periods of history: ancient, medieval, early modern and modern. Each novel focuses on a different worldview family: polytheism, monotheism, naturalism and pantheism. We already read the Henty books, so this seems like a logical extension and the natural flow for my boys! Again, this curriculum really seems to fit our homeschool environment!   

Companion Guide to Secret of the Scribe:  
Christian Theology and Ancient Polytheism: 

Where the Ancients meet their Maker. 

This book is the companion study guide for the Secret of the Scribe entitled: Christian Theology and Ancient Polytheism (CTAP).  It is designed to be a nine month curriculum that compares and contrasts ancient Near Eastern myths with the Torah and Tanakh (“Old Testament”) accounts of biblical events. We will explore via an in-depth study, the ancient struggle with idolatry. CTAP takes a literary approach and combines it with the method of comparison and contrast to cultivate higher level thinking skills.  
If you are interested in learning more about this set prior to my review, visit BrimWood Press and download these samples:

Brimwood Press’ CTAP – Course Overview Sample – Sample Download – .5 MB

Other companion products recommended for use with this Study Guide: Secret of the Scribe

So stay tuned as we work through this worldview curriculum over the next few months!  I will be blogging more about it as we start reading the books and materials … giving you my unbiased opinion of the hands-on aspects, the text and the worldview perspective.  We are planning to finish this study over the summer.  

If you intend to purchase this curriculum based on my introduction and review of the curriculum, I would so appreciate you using our affiliate link to do so.  The curriculum will not cost you more, but it will provide a small commission to us.  I actually intend to use any proceeds to purchase the rest of the worldview curriculum! http://brimwoodpress.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=1026.  Thank you!

Until next time… take care of your family and hug your children! We never know what tomorrow holds.  

Review of Excellence in Writing Geography-Based Writing Lessons

My review of

Disclosure

We are about to wrap up the 2012-2013 school year.  That means it is time for me to assess what is working and not working in our homeschool and to do some reviews on the curriculum we used.  So, this is the first of many reviews coming!  Let me start by saying, this is not a paid or sponsored review. I will be doing reviews in the future on products that were given to me in return for my honest opinion, but this review of Excellence in Writing Geography Based Writing Lesson is strictly just me speaking from my own opinion and experience on a curriculum I purchased.  

I had been hunting a writing curriculum for a couple of years and we’ve experimented with a few that were pretty lackluster (I’ll write reviews on them later)!  I had been hearing great things about Excellence in Writing (IEW) for years but, I’ll be honest, I was too intimidated to try it!  It took me three years of homeschooling experience under my belt to build up the fortitude to try IEW.  Even then, I tip-toed into the IEW waters with their Geography based writing lesson using Beautiful Feet for Geography and a few of Holling Clancy Holling’s books.  

Foundation for the review, our Homeschool Environment:

I think it matters the ages and gender of the children that were taught the material.  So, my experience and opinion is based on the success with my boys, ages 13, 11, and 9 years old.  Since this curriculum is recommended for children in Grades 3 – 7, it is the exact range of my children!  

We had not read these wonderful books by Holling Clancy Holling, so even without the IEW curriculum, these were such a treat in and of themselves!  The boys loved them!!  They would read the homework assignments and would regularly read ahead and usually go ahead and finish the book in the first sitting.  This was fine because we also read the books out loud in class and these readings were inline with the homework as it was assigned.  We did Literature/Writing one day a week for three hours a day, plus homework.  They probably spent no more than five hours a week on this topic.  

IEW Geography Review:

I will give you details about the first book we read Paddle to the Sea in this curriculum and provide details step by step of what we did.  The first lesson in Paddle to the Sea was using keywords to outline various texts from the book.  Once they had created outlines of the keywords, they then had to paraphrase the paragraph back using one of their brothers’ notes!  This was so much fun for the boys to figure out how to identify the key words in a text and they loved creating  symbols instead of words to get to the most basic outline possible!  We quickly realized there is an art to using symbols to understand and relate back the text.  You can find some common note-taking symbols online by doing a simple google search but I challenge you to go further.  It will make it so much more fun for your children!  

In Lesson Two, we learned all about the “Banned Word List”.  This was another extremely fun activity for the boys.  They had to figure out words to use instead of the common words listed on the banned word list.  Here are the banned words that could not be used when reporting on Paddle to the Sea (and the rest of the books from here on out):

IEW Banned Words  

They took great pleasure in catching each other using one of the banned words!  The IEW PDF download provides a form for these banned words and ideas of words we could use to replace them.  

IEW Composition Checklist

Lesson Three is writing from notes.  The boys wrote a one paragraph report on the Marsh Animals in a Thunderstorm.  They started with a keyword outline summarizing the text they read.  They then were assigned a one paragraph report based on the keyword outline.  They used this checklist which is part of the IEW Geography Course.   

In Lesson Four, the boys are introduced to “Dress ups”.  The first set are the quality adjectives and strong verbs.  This concept is practiced through Lesson Five.  In Lesson Six the boys were introduced to the next dress-up which was -ly words.  Of course, “ly” words are adverbs, so they are adding adverbs into their writing now.  

We have now reached Lesson Eight in our review and we are at the climax of the Paddle to the Sea.  So you can see, it has a nice progression of stepping into the writing assignments and giving our children lots of time to get comfortable with the material before moving on to the next concept.  

IEW Story Sequence Chart

Now, in Lesson Eight, we move into the first big writing assignment, a three paragraph report.  We are provided with a Story Sequence Chart that guides students to outline the sections of the story so they can write their own version.  The IEW manual provides several questions for each section and actually provides the story sequence outline for two different sections to give students help in starting this critical piece of the lesson and the final one introduced in Paddle to the Sea.  

With each book after Paddle to the Sea, IEW added more Dress-ups and more ways for the boys to express themselves in more complex ways.  The other three books that are read as part of this curriculum are:

We LOVED this curriculum!!!  I honestly cannot say enough good things about it.  It gets the highest rating on my scale, a 5 star!  I highly recommend Excellence in Writing period!  They have a yahoo group for questions you may have and the moderators usually answer the questions that day (if not within a few hours)!  They also have a yahoo group for used curriculum.  They do not penalize you or make it difficult for you to purchase their products used.  I can tell you though, they have an unconditional, no time limit, FULL GUARANTEE on their products.  If you teach it and don’t like it, you can return for a full refund! (NOTE that only applies if you buy it directly from them).  They stand behind their products!  

Oh, did I mention that this curriculum was such a huge hit in my house that it has inspired my 13 year old son to write a book (unprompted by mom)!  Yep,  I’m sold, it receives 5 Stars from this happy homeschool Momma for sure!

 

IEW Geography 5 stars

 

A couple of final thoughts about when I purchased this curriculum:

  • I WISH I had not been so intimidated by this curriculum and would have just purchased it earlier!  There is so much value in this curriculum that my boys could have been using earlier!  
  • I started with Geography instead of purchasing their core and foundational product Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS).  I really wanted to get to know the product before I invested a significant amount of money in it.  Once I purchased Geography, it clearly stated in the instructions that TWSS was a pre-requisite, but I still didn’t listen.  By lesson eight, I was regretting not having TWSS and so I bought it then.  I had to reference that curriculum multiple times and watched several parts of the DVDs.  I used it as a resource through out this year’s Geography curriculum, but TWSS is what I am teaching for the first half of 2013 – 2014 and Student Writing Intensive Group A (SWI-A) for the second half of 2013-2014.  

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!  

Until Next Time…. 

 

 

 

 

2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum

 

We have homeschooled now for four years.  This is our 2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum.  Prior to homeschooling, our boys attended a small local private Montessori school, where I was on the board for the school. Our boys have reached the point of thinking and working abstractly, so most of the Montessori materials are no longer used in our curriculum. So what do we now?  Come & see!!

I am very thankful that we stumbled blindly into a Montessori school! It has been a complete blessing to our family and continues to be … it is how we approach learning, education and life in general. So, although we have very traditional homeschool material now, our approach is still firmly grounded in the Montessori pedagogy.

 

#1 (oldest son) 7th Grade:

Exercises in English G
Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English G
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study GuideCat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action GVocabulary in Action G
 
Algebra: Video Text Algebra II (CLEP when complete!)VideoText Algebra
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Civics: God and Government Volume 1God and Government 1
Science: Apologia Physical ScienceApologia Physical Science
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name

 

 

 

(Middle Son) 6th Grade:

Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English FExercises in English F
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study Guide Cat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action EVocabulary in Action E
Creative Writing: IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
Algebra: Video Text Algebra I (CLEP when completes II!)VideoText Algebra
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Civics: God and Government Volume 1God and Government 1
Science: Apologia General ScienceGeneral Science
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name

 

 

#3 (Youngest Son) 3rd Grade

Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English DExercises in English D
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study GuideCat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action DVocabulary in Action D
Creative Writing: IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
Teaching Textbooks Pre-AlgebraTeaching Textbooks Pre Algebra Montessori Measurement (EDUTC)Edutc Measurement    Montessori Area and Volume from Houston Montessori Center
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Science: Apologia Exploring Creation Zoology 3Exploring Creation Zoology 3
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name

 

Note:  Items above are linked to my Amazon affiliate account.  The very small amount of money that we make from our affiliation with Amazon is used to augment our curriculum needs.  Photos are shared from Amazon.

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