Suzanne has homeschooled all six of her children from the beginning. Two have now graduated, three are teens, and the youngest is in sixth grade. In a recent phone interview, she shared with me how overwhelmed she felt so often in the early years before she found ACE. There’s the pressure of trying to school a few and have a few in diapers who are getting into everything. There’s the pressure of having homeschooling friends who spend hours planning and preparing multi-grade unit studies and make you feel like to be a good homeschool mom you need to be doing the same. Or there’s the friend who every year returns from the curriculum fair with different materials tailored to each child’s interests and learning style. And that’s just related to schooling. Then there’s the meals, laundry, shopping, discipline, and other “mom duties” that are ever present and demanding attention.
I can do this!
Suzanne said she went through a time when she felt very alone and overwhelmed with responsibilities and expectations. She was thinking, “I can’t do this anymore!” But then a friend recommended she try the Accelerated Christian Education PACES, which she did. Once she got the children going with their goals and understanding how the curriculum worked, she felt a load lifted from her shoulders. “I can do this!” she encouraged herself excitedly!
What do you like most about ACE?
“I am confident that my children will get everything they need and I don’t have to be worried that I might be missing something important,” was Suzanne’s first answer. She has learned to trust the scope and sequence and the way the curriculum cycles through the content, building on previous years and adding new content each year. The vocabulary is well researched to be on level with the mental development of children in each grade and so children can read and answer questions on their own with very little help needed from mom.
This is especially encouraging to Suzanne as her teens have started through the high school courses. She doesn’t feel intimidated and knows her teens will be able to handle the work and succeed. She has found the test tips and video lessons for Physical Science and various resources for World Geography at PACE Success.net to be very helpful. She is also at peace knowing that it is not likely for stuff to fall through the cracks, so to speak, if she keeps her kids in the same curriculum.
Another blessing of using ACE, Suzanne shared, is that it is so orderly. The program is easy to implement and follow, and the children are actively engaged in reading, finding the answers to questions, scoring their own work, and studying for tests. Guests who have visited their house during homeschooling hours are amazed at the order and self-direction of the children!
The emphasis on character and wisdom is another aspect of the ACE curriculum that Suzanne really appreciates. There are Bible verses to memorize, principles to personalize, and fictional stories where teens are grappling with real life problems and applying God’s Word to them. It has opened up many conversations about life and spiritual things with her children.
The “icing on the cake” with the ACE curriculum is that when they go on a family trip or vacation, the kids can easily take their PACES and still keep up with their work. No bulky textbooks, videos, or rigid online-course schedules.
Why do so many not know of, nor use ACE?
Suzanne acknowledged that there’s not a strong positive “vibe” about ACE it seems in many homeschooling circles. She remembers looking in Cathy Duffy’s resource book and finding very little if anything about ACE. She noted that many seem more attracted to using “classical” literature as the foundation of education and are willing to make an enormous investment of time, energy, and money to pursue that popular path. She’s heard some complain that the elementary level PACES seem “too easy” but countered that with her own observation that by fifth and sixth grade levels the work is getting more challenging and continues to throughout the high school grades.
Have you had any problems using ACE and where do you turn for answers?
Suzanne said she’s called ACE directly several times with questions and gotten the answers she needed. She has been a member of the Yahoo ACE Homeschooling Moms group and likes the interaction there and feedback from other moms when she’s posted a question. Recently she’s found several resources at PACE Success.net that have been helpful as well.
What advice would you give to a homeschool mom who is feeling overwhelmed?
“Make the switch to the PACES and follow the recommended procedures. If you do, your children will get a good education and you’ll regain some peace and sanity as a mom.”
Suzanne makes some great points about the reasons to consider using PACES. We use it in our Christian school and I have confidence that our students are graduating ready for college, ministry, and life. The PACES allow much more flexibility to the user to adapt to changes in schedules, student needs, and ministry opportunities. The Biblical world-view that is emhasized in every subject and the integration of Bible principles and wisdom is a strong selling point to me as well. If you’re afraid to switch everything, and maybe you really like the math or science curriculum you are currently using, then keep that and switch the other subjects over. The cost is reasonable for a consumable curriculum, and the peace and order is well worth the investment!