While the ACE PACES could be used by any student in any homeschool or school situation, I have found a few situations where the curriculum was ideally suited:
- A student who is heavily involved in music, drama, or sports. I have worked with homeschooled girls who were doing gymnastics or ice skating and wanting to invest many hours of practice in order to excel. Using the PACES, these girls were able to work in one thin workbook (PACE) per subject each day, and these PACES easily fit into their gym bag. During breaks between routines or lessons they were able to pull one out and do some work. I advised one boy who was wrestling and trying to prepare to qualify for the U.S. Olympics team that he should switch from the bulky curriculum he was using to the PACES; it was a great match for him (pun intended)! Other students I’ve advised were very committed to drama or music with lessons, practice, and performances; PACES allowed them the same flexibility to get their school work done easily around their busy schedules.
- A student who is dealing with a serious illness or injury. I had a girl a few years ago who had to withdraw from public school due to an illness that was keeping her from going to school daily. I recommended the PACES and she loved them! She was able to work in bed sometimes, take a PACE with her to doctor appointments, or work when and where she was comfortable while recovering. With the PACES, students pick up where they left off and work at their own rate. If they are sick, they aren’t missing any classes or instruction time.
- A parent who is dealing with a serious illness or interruption. More than once a parent who for years has been committed to preparing lessons plans and teaching her children for homeschool suddenly has a major change in life. Maybe a grandparent needs much attention. A baby is born. Another child is very needy. Or mom becomes very sick for an extended time. The PACES are truly a God-send in those situations as the students can work independently and not be waiting for mom to find the time to teach again. (That is not to say parents can be totally “hands-off” – it is important to regularly inspect the progress!)
- Children in missionary families or other types of full-time ministry. I grew up in a missionary family. My dad was called to Hawaii to work with the military there and had a fruitful ministry for many years, so I know what it is like to be an “MK” (missionary kid) and have to travel on furlough. Back in my day, though, homeschooling was unheard of and the PACE curriculum was just being written. Today most missionary families have their children travel with them on furlough and do homeschool curriculum while on the road. As you can imagine, taking a few PACES along in the car is a lot lighter and easier to manage than backpacks full of textbooks, workbooks, and teacher keys (and rules out video-instruction and web-based curriculum). Even on the mission field missionaries tend to be busy with many responsibilities and ministry interruptions. If the children are doing PACES they can work more independently and keep making progress.
- Boys. Being a man myself, a father, and for over 30 years a teacher of teenagers, I understand that guys are motivated by accomplishment, success, and self-direction. Being able to set their own goals, work in a small packet of curriculum, and move through a set number of PACES for the year appeals to most guys.
- Large families or families with children in several grades. Trying to stay on top of several children each in a different grade (and maybe even one or two in diapers) can be exhausting. One family at our church recently expressed that frustration and wanted to talk about enrolling in our Christian school mid-year. They ended up switching to PACES for the time being and mom recently told me that the children love it and the stress is gone for her! She is enjoying homeschooling again!
- Special needs students. I have this group last because I need some guest posts here perhaps to flesh this one out! I know that Paige, who moderates the ACE Homeschool Yahoo Group, and Sky, who often contributes there, both have many examples of how the PACES have been a great tool for helping students who struggle with various learning difficulties. In my own Learning Center I’ve had students with Attention Deficit problems – and they soon learn that they can’t make progress while they’re distracted. As they focus they accomplish and learn and then earn privilege, Honor Roll, etc.
What are some other situations in which YOU have found the ACE curriculum to be a great match? Add your comments to the conversion below!
You might also like to read the article: 5 People who should NOT use PACES