I know. I’m a glutton for punishment! It’s probably not wise to publicize what homeschool curriculum we have chosen. I may be opening myself up to criticism right off the bat simply because everybody thinks their choice in curriculum is the best. Well, truly each family may choose differently, but that is because each family is different…and frankly, each mother is different. I have to be the teacher after all! I would like to briefly give our reasons for using Accelerated Christian Education, or ACE, since it’s the favorite question to ask novice homeschool parents. “What curriculum are you using?”
While this may not be the highest priority when we considered curriculum choices, it was the starting place for us. There are really a lot of good, solid curricula out there, and in order to simply narrow the field we started with the ones we knew. Those we considered were: ACE, Bob Jones, and Abeka. My husband and I both have sat under these programs at one time or another in our lives, and all have strengths and weaknesses and are all good. I did PACEs within a school setting, and my husband did them as a homeschooler. So we had a good idea of what a school day would look like under the ACE system.
Solid Academics / Good Reputation
ACE has been around for 40 years, and that is a good indication to me that they are sound academically. This was the most important thing to us, even more important than the Bible lessons in this instance. We can always supplement the Bible teaching, but this was going to be our kids’ primary source of academic knowledge. We have to fulfill the state requirements for our kids for sure. I have some friends who went through the PACEs and then went on to get engineering degrees and some went on to graduate studies in Biblical languages. Also, ACE uses phonics to teach spelling and reading. That is my main concern with my little abecedarians, since my main focus for the next few years is to get my children to read and read well. Now, we might be a little naive, but we really aren’t too worried overall. My husband’s strengths are in math and science, and my strengths are in English and History. We figured we will be able to help our kids in most areas, and will be able to identify where there might be problems. Also, I hear that if we stick with one good curriculum, our kids will likely not have any learning gaps. And if things really don’t work out, then we can always change and cross that bridge when we come to it. ACE will be a good core curriculum though, and it will be easy to supplement with field-trips and extra lesson units or harder challenges.
It was my sister who got the Elementary Education degree and a masters degree. Not me! I have my Sacred Music degree, but even then I did not get a degree in teaching music because teaching is not my forte. (pun intended!) The ACE curriculum is the most different of the three that we considered because the student works through the sections of study (PACEs) mostly on their own rather than sitting through a lesson time with a teacher. It is a self-motivation system. I love that! I was most afraid of having to do lesson plans or explaining every unit to my kids. I was worried about missing something. I didn’t know if I could pull it off. I needed a curriculum that would give me (and my kids) a step-by-step path through school. First learn this, then learn this, then learn this, etc. And that’s what the PACEs do. The kids work through a particular unit of study on their own and then take the test. The curriculum is VERY clear about how fast to go through a subject and it’s easy to tell if they are learning the material. (Students are not allowed to progress to the next PACE until they’ve achieved “mastery” or 80% on the tests.) The picture here shows students working on PACEs in a classroom setting, and that’s how I remember doing PACEs. At home, of course, there won’t necessarily be cubicles but they will just be working through the material on their own. And yes, I realize that in the beginning, until they have the reading down, I will be doing much more with the kids. But I am looking forward to letting them accelerate on their own. My husband and I put great value on training our children to be independent thinkers and doers, and ACE lends itself to that. So for me, this was a good fit.
This was a big concern for us. I think if the cost were not a factor at all, I would have considered other alternatives. The biggest reason why we are homeschooling at all is the price. Since we did not want to put our kids in public school, a good Christian school or homeschooling were our only two options. If money were no object, we’d have our kids in a Christian school. And there is a good one nearby us. Unfortunately, money is a factor, and we need to be frugal even in educating our kids. So with that in mind, we went with ACE. It is one of the more affordable curricula at around $400 per student per year.
So there you have it. There is potential for our kids to really excel if they put their minds to it. I am excited about homeschooling! We are finishing up our first year with the curriculum, and I will do a post about how our year went another time. Soon I will have 2 kids working on PACEs and one child in preschool. I pray the Lord will bless our efforts, and I hope this was a help to you.