The old computer software used to have hidden surprises, like games or video clips, that you only found by being very familiar with the program. But they were fun to discover! They were called “Easter Eggs.” For instance, did you know that in FaceBook, under Settings-Language, you can select English-Pirate, or English-Upside Down? There’s some fun for you! Here’s a list of some recent ones in various apps.
The PACES have some features that parents may not know about before using the curriculum, and new homeschooling parents still may not fully appreciate. But I think they are really “cool” features and I want to share my favorite ones with you!
1. Missions Emphasis
Throughout the PACES, but especially in English and Word Building, there is a strong emphasis on telling the stories of missionaries and encouraging missions. The sentences that students have to analyze to find prepositions, or sentence patterns, are not just random nonsense sentences. They often build upon one another to tell a story. In some of the high school English PACES, students have writing assignments for which they must study the life of a famous missionary and write an essay about them. I just helped a girl working in English 1082 – she was learning about Adoniram Judson, missionary to Burma!
2. Good Heroes
In addition to missionaries, the PACEs introduce students to many other great heroes of the faith. Some are well-known historical figures like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. Others made their mark in science, like Michael Faraday and Robert Boyle. One English PACE had exercise after exercise expounding the life of Johan Sabastian Bach, even sharing his testimony of salvation as a teenager! English 1094 covered the lives of Jonathan Edwards and David Brainerd. Another English PACE introduced students to a more recent hero – Bro Lester Roloff, who God used to rescue the lives of many wayward teens in America. If you use the recommended literature assignments, there are some more great biographies which students will read. In the high school English PACES, students will read and analyze Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place and the classic, “In His Steps.”
3. Purity is promoted
Some may mock the “Six-Inch Rule” that is talked about in the high school PACES as a guideline for avoiding contact with the opposite sex, but I appreciate that the authors of the curriculum encourage purity and chastity. Too much of the material produced for Christian teens today panders to the dating, going-together, worldly approach to boy-girl relationships. It is refreshing to know high standards of conduct are being promoted in the PACES.
4. Character qualities
Sixty different character qualities are defined and explained as students work through the various PACES. No matter what the subject, there is one character quality emphasized through-out each PACE. A key Bible verse is tied to that character quality and often a story line is developed in some way that illustrates that character quality being applied. In some of the English and Word Building PACES students have to write original sentences explaining how they personally have applied that character quality to their own life. I love seeing the practical application of God’s Word to teens’ lives!
5. Verses to memorize
Every PACE has a Scripture verse that has to be memorized and written by memory on Check-ups, the Self-Test, and the final PACE Test. Over the years, the verses are cycled through several times, and that review helps students retain those verses. It is so important to get the Word of God into young people’s minds while they are young. Many of the verses I have memorized and can still recall now as an adult, I recognize as having been in the PACES I completed as a teen!
6. Exercises support Biblical teaching, and don’t undermine it
I alluded to this earlier, but want to point it out again. In so many other curriculum workbooks, the sentences students have to analyze for English have no redeeming value beyond the immediate assignment. Sometimes they even include questionable things. In the PACES, even the math problems are not about buying movie tickets, dancing, or playing with gambling cards but rather about church focused projects, missions, or family activities.
7. Wisdom PACs
The high school English PACES each have an insert called a Wisdom PAC that uses cartoons of the ACE Characters having dialogue, being taught by a Godly adult, or facing some problem and trying to find a way to solve it Biblically. The topics covered are pertinent to teens, like finding God’s will, accepting things in their life that they can’t change, and getting along with others. For parents, these can be great conversation starters to deal with important matters with your own teen. I have another entire article just about the Wisdom PACs!
8. Biblical Doctrine
Though the curriculum is used in a variety of churches and denominations, the authors have made the intentional choice to be dogmatic about what the Bible is dogmatic about. The Bible is viewed as absolute authority for faith and practice. A clear explanation of the gospel – how to be saved – is unashamedly and clearly woven throughout the curriculum. Periodically, there is a note for the supervisor to counsel the child about salvation. Personally, I appreciate that the curriculum has chosen to stick with the King James Version of the Bible. There are many reasons for that, not the least of which is that the KJV is not copyrighted and is available everywhere. For Scripture memory, I don’t think you can improve on the KJV!
Can you think of other “hidden treasures” in the PACES that you have discovered and appreciated after using the curriculum for awhile? Add them to the comments below!