Meet Paige. She is the moderator of the Yahoo Group – ACE Homeschooling Support – and has been handling those responsibilities for almost ten years since her mother-in-law, who used to work at ACE, passed the reins to her. She and her husband, Aaron, have five children – one graduated from college, one in college, an 18 year old son homeschooling with ACE, and a 4 year old. (So she will continue to be intimately connected with homeschooling for several more years!) Their fifth child, Ian, God saw fit to take home to heaven in June of 2003, a family loss which deeply impacted Paige but has also given her opportunities to connect with other moms in a special way.
Paige and her husband were both students in ACE schools growing up in the 1980’s and both attended the ACE college in Dallas after high school. In fact, that’s where they met. They administered an ACE school in Canada for a while before moving back to West Plains, Missouri and starting to homeschool.
Why did Paige choose ACE for homeschooling?
Obviously, Paige was already very familiar with the PACE program and the procedures and philosophy behind why it works. But beyond that, she really likes that she doesn’t have to shop every year and look at all the new programs that are being published and promoted. She is confident that the PACEs will cover all the content her children need to be well-grounded and ready for college and life. She loves the Biblical and Godly character integrated into every subject at every level. She acknowledged that she may not agree with every point in the curriculum but it has opened some good discussions with her teens.
What advice does Paige give for using the ACE program successfully?
With her wealth of background and personal use of the program for several years as a homeschool mom, Paige has these insights to share:
1. Use it correctly. Most often, the reason people are not successful is that they are not following the recommended procedures in the Parent Homeschool Guide. It may be tempting to think that a self-instructional curriculum is easy to implement right out of the box. (I guess it’s not unlike me as a dad opening a furniture kit and wanting to assemble it without consulting the manual!) But years of experience and research have helped formulate this Parent Guide and curriculum and families who follow it carefully find the greatest success.
2. Be involved. Parents make a mistake when they think they can throw the PACES at their children and walk away. Because the program IS very self-instructional and self-directed, parents might be tempted to become disconnected. Know what your child is learning, and study with them for tests. Help them set goals in the early years working toward them being able to do it independently. Check each day that the work was actually done. Some parents find it helpful to be the one doing all the scoring of their child’s work which keeps them in touch with progress, problems, and content areas. She does urge caution in this area as the purpose behind the student doing their own work is accountability, success and even failure, and learning to set and succeed at goals.
3. Be flexible and adapt to student needs. Paige shared that she personally knows of several children with special needs who were able to learn and make academic progress using the PACES. One student in particular was told that she would never be able to read, but with the PACEs she was able to complete up through the 6th level. Some students may benefit from having PACE content read aloud to them. Others do better on tests if they are done orally. Paige reminded me that Dr. and Mrs. Howard had a special place in their hearts for students with learning disabilities or who struggled with learning. Their goal was to create a curriculum with carefully controlled vocabulary, reinforcement, and mastery-based learning.
If you have not checked out the Yahoo Group, you should! In addition to having a forum for getting questions answered, there are archives of resources and files that others have added over the years. Some homeschool moms like the interaction in a Facebook group, but there are some moms who prefer not to be on Facebook but would still like a way to get answers to current questions. Another feature of the Yahoo group is that moms are sometimes selling PACES, scorekeys, or resource books via posts to the list.