Well, so we’ve finished our first year of homeschooling! About a week before we were done I thought to myself, “Hmmm. I guess we ought to have a Kindergarten graduation!” So we did. We purchased a cap and gown which will be re-used in years to come. Then we found “Pomp and Circumstance” online so we could have the graduation march around our little living room. Mr. Principal Daddy gave a very nice speech and we handed him his diploma. Then we had cake!
I really enjoyed working through the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum. We had a very busy year with moving our family across the country and having endured two major surgeries in the family. ACE helped me tremendously in this first year as a homeschool mom. Here are some of the reasons our school year went so well even with all of our big changes.
Simplicity for the Teacher
I’ve said before that one reason we chose ACE was that it simplified what I needed to do to teach my kids. Boy am I thankful for their set up! The format is simply for each child: Work through a PACE and then take the test at the end. This was perfect for me, because I am not a natural teacher. I need someone to tell me the step-by-step procedure, “First do this. Then to this. etc.” I’m good at following directions, so that was great for me. There are ready-made forms and progress reports for record keeping, and that was great as well since there were several times in the year when things were not very organized in the house.
Matthew really enjoyed the PACEs. They are full of color and they progress at just the right pace for him. The Bible lessons were really great with Bible stories for me to read aloud with application and some worksheets. We added the book, “Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons” which was great for Matthew, and the phonics-based “Word Building” PACEs from ACE worked with that just fine. Matthew loved the Math and he is really looking forward to doing that more next year. The other lessons we did were Animal Science learning different types of animals. The lessons were very simple and they dovetailed with the Word Building PACEs, plus they included a moral to learn as well. Some of the pictures and wording might be considered old-fashioned, but Matthew didn’t know that. He really enjoyed it, and now his sister, Katie, can’t wait o do her own PACEs.
I had decided to walk Matthew through the “100 Easy Lessons” book before we decided on the ACE program, and that really worked out well. Matthew was eager to begin reading the summer before his Kindergarten year, so we did that for the first quarter plus some worsheets that I found online. Having already begun the reading lessons meant that we needed to order the ACE curriculum that was suited to beginning readers. Later I found out that was actually a First Grade set of curriculum, but that worked out well anyway. The first 12 weeks of PACEs walked him through the alphabet and all the sounds again, and it introduced the Bible lessons and some Math and Animal Science as well. That turned out to be great review for him, so we decided to stick to just those 12 weeks in addition to finishing his “100 Easy Lessons”. We will finish his First Grade set of PACEs in the next year and he’ll still be on track.
I saw that I really didn’t need to be so concerned with how much he was learning. At first I had my whole list of things he needed to learn by the end of his kindergarten year, and I was nervous and stressed about how to get him to learn all of it. Remember, I’m not a natural teacher! But as we went through the books and I saw that he was keeping up fine, I began to relax. I decided to focus on just the one big item: Reading, and that was a good choice because reading is SO foundational. OK, so we don’t have the telling time down perfectly yet, and so he still doesn’t know how to tie his shoes, but he is reading pretty well for a 6 year old! We worked through the PACEs, Matthew doing most of it himself, and we just kept adding stars to his chart as he passed his tests. My teacher sister tells me that it’s most important for him to begin to read, to learn how a school day is supposed to go, and to enjoy school. As he gets into 2nd and 3rd grade, there will be more pressure then to really progress. Definitely, I am confident that the ACE Curriculum will bring us through all the needed information, so that lifted the pressure off me.
If there’s anything I would change it would be for me to add more crafts. With so many distractions in our year, that was one area where I slacked off. However, I will do the same format for my newest Kindergartener, Katie. For her Preschool days, I had just printed off fun worksheets for her that I found online mainly to keep her busy and to teach shapes and colors and counting, etc. But next year, both kids will be doing PACEs, and so I am determined to work in more crafts for them.
I’ve enjoyed homeschooling! It’s my personality to keep looking forward to the next stage, and truly I am working toward getting all four of my children to read well so they can do more work on their own. Some mothers are SO creative and gung-ho about homeschooling, but that’s not me. I wouldn’t be doing this except that it’s for my own kids! But I don’t think I’m alone in that. I would venture to guess that there are many mothers like me who just don’t relish the idea of homeschooling, yet it may be a necessity like it is for us. So let me encourage you reluctant homeschool moms! It can be done, and you can anticipate along with me the years to come.