Recently, on a FaceBook forum for homeschooling families who use ACE, a mom asked why there was so much negativity about ACE. A general internet search or YouTube search will turn up many harsh rants, making anyone who is considering using ACE – or even using it currently – to second guess that choice. Over 30 thoughtful comments from moms who are using ACE were posted in response. These positive reviews need a more permanent home on the web. Here they are – read and be encouraged!
(Note: several comments below reference Abeka just as a point of reference and comparison, not bashing or criticizing this godly curriculum).
Comments posted online by real users of ACE
“Yes, the dislike for ACE is all over the place. It’s incredibly sad. I saw a post in a homeschooling group of Abeka vs ACE. 8 out of 10 downed ACE. I don’t understand it because we’re rocking it over here. I found Abeka too difficult in some areas. I just don’t understand knocking a curriculum. I mean, just support each other in our homeschooling journey no matter the curriculum. “What works for my child may not work for yours. Keep your negativity to yourself.” Can I get an Amen?!
“I have noticed while reviewing ACE that there is a lot of bad hype from previous ACE private school kids so I was very hesitant at first. But, I felt the Lord tugging my heart to give ACE a try and I’m so thankful I did!! My oldest daughter loves it and we will be using ACE as well with my other child next school year.
“Yes , my homeschool group had a few negative things about it, but it was mainly due to the religion content in it and they felt that maybe the curriculum wasn’t enough for their child. We are in our second year and doing well in it. Some curriculum may not work for others and that is fine. It doesn’t mean ACE is bad, it just isn’t right for them. That doesn’t mean they have to spread rumors around everywhere saying ACE is awful. I agree, we should all support each other and raise each other up.
“That’s sad. I love ACE as a whole…I don’t love every single aspect of it, but no curriculum is perfect. Plus it’s the first curriculum we’ve tried that our ADHD 12 year old does not hate! Sad to see it get such negative reviews from some.
“ACE is a tool – not the answer to people’s problems .. Curriculum is a tool .. not the end all be all answer to people’s problems.
“ACE requires and teaches goal setting as well as being a self-starter. Both are necessary skills to develop before college. I don’t know many curriculums that offer that.
“I was also hesitant for so long because of some of the negativity, but I needed help and kept feeling like the Lord was leading me to ACE for my kiddos. I can’t tell you how much of a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. In just one week I have noticed the kids like knowing what to expect. They like knowing how much to complete. And I LOVE the goal setting aspect of it because they are learning accountability. The way that scripture is in every subject brings joy to my heart. And guess what else? Because we are not so bogged down with curriculum that takes so long to complete, my kids have time to explore their interests, I have time to read aloud to them, and do other things with them that we couldn’t do when the joy was sucked out by the overwhelming feeling of being so behind because we failed to complete everything.
“We just came from using Abeka. I still have to help my son just as much as I did with Abeka, but my son understands it now. ACE has it laid out so much easier for him (and me) to understand and actually get a grasp on it. I also saw where they were bashing ACE and I felt sorry for the snobbery that the parents were caught up in. I know I made the right decision with ACE and for my son.
“My kids actually pass the pace tests without much effort compared to Abeka that they were failing constantly! I’ve had to make each child redo one pace in the 2 years since we started using ACE. It saves me so much time, helps me stay organized, and my kids succeed with it! I’ll never go back to something else.
“Personally I think that any negativity from people comes from the fact that ACE is so different from what they know. This is the only curriculum that I have ever seen that integrates the Bible into every subject so thoroughly. I think that it is also the workbook format curriculum that has been available the longest. Often people who speak the most negativity are either not Christians, don’t understand why the Bible is such a great focus for ancient history, or have seen a very small piece of the curriculum and not learned about the progression that it makes in covering various levels of learning/thinking.
“ACE has been around for 40+ years. There are approximately 7000 schools around the world using it. Countless homeschoolers. I believe some people really just are bothered with the way it challenges everyone to do right and put on the character of Christ. I do think poorly run schools hurt the program. It works for anyone who uses it correctly. The quality controls make it top notch.
“I was not keen on ACE in the beginning, but can not deny after changing to it, the immense measurable improvement in many areas for my children!
“I love ACE. We have tried 3 different styles of learning and they all had their good points but not for us for the long haul. The thing that I just love about ACE is it puts the responsibility on my kiddos. And that in itself is a valuable life lesson!
“Oh, I totally ignore [the negativity]. My husband and his siblings did ACE K-12. They all went to University and have had successful careers. It gives me confidence in it.
“My son took a pace test in English and made a 100!!! This pace was on action verbs, state of being verbs, helping verbs, etc…… the EXACT same thing he could not, for the life of him, get a grasp on with Abeka. I am so proud of him and I am so thankful for the way ACE has it laid out for him to understand and retain. Other curriculums might work for other children, but this one is the right fit for my son and that is all that matters to me.
“I graduated from an ACE school, became an R.N. and have homeschooled since my youngest was in 4th grade. He scores post high school on every achievement test he takes. We are in 9th grade this year and he is doing great, enrolled in the honors program through Lighthouse, and I do not feel lazy or regret any of it.
“I think that too many moms feel like they have to be mini Charlotte Masons, and submerge their children in great books and whatever else that is alternative to standard learning. Just because you homeschool does not mean that you can’t use “workbooks” or “textbooks.” Just because it is not over the top expensive, does not mean it is substandard. The Eclectic Approach often leaves gaps. Let us be prayerful and rest easy in knowing that we use what is best for OUR children, and that ACE provides a wonderful Christian base of learning. Chin up, and move forward boldly for what is good.
“I was one of the naysayers because I listened to all of the bad comments and reviews about ACE. I hadn’t even seen a pace myself, but listened to all the garbage. It wasn’t until a dear friend suggested ACE that I really started looking into it. We are in our second year with ACE now and our kids have learned a lot. God works in mysterious ways. Due to unforeseen health issues that crept up last year our kids needed something that they could do pretty independently. Enter ACE. He knows what we need before we even do. I am amazed at His provision as I say this for the first time. Follow His leading, He will not lead you astray!
“When looking for a curriculum (this is our first year homeschooling) I honestly heard almost all negative things about ACE and couldn’t understand why. Then I’d hear former homeschool students who loved it. I feel like people love it or hate it. Like someone else said, I don’t understand bashing a curriculum. From what I understand ACE is very thorough and encourages self-starters, which is a great thing. We are considering it for next year.
In summary, I think there are a handful of reasons why people vent and spew their negativity about ACE:
1. They had a bad experience with it as a student, probably due to being in a school that didn’t use the curriculum correctly or didn’t have staff to give adequate help when students struggled.
2. They are unbelievers and despise a curriculum that teaches from a decidedly Christian world-view perspective.
3. They have only heard and read negative reviews and just repeat what they’ve heard.
4. For some reason, we as humans are much more prone to vent and complain to a large audience than to share our positive reviews. We should use the Philippians 4:8 filter for what we write and say as well as think.
5. They have a different curriculum or approach they are loyal to (which is fine) but feel they need to put down everything else (which is not fine). Criticism and contention are rooted in pride. From what I have observed of ACE users, they tend to graciously recommend that friends consider using ACE, but don’t bash other curriculum choices.
6. In our modern online culture, people tend to think they can be much more abrasive and opinionated than they would be in face to face encounters. We see this when other political or hot-button issues are discussed in social media. We need to show more grace, humility, and love and simply share our testimonies.
7. Suzanne has worked in an ACE school and been an ACE homeschool mom. She observes that “when homeschooling started, there was a trend to unschool and to get away from school boredom by not using textbooks. It was more popular to be a self driven genius who spent hours researching in the library and inventing in the garage. So big pioneers such as Mary Pride who wrote the popular huge homeschooling review book and Cathy Duffy were against ACE because they claimed that it was rote learning and did not cover any analytical reasoning. Publishers capitalized on promoting analytical thinking claiming that they were better because they didn’t just fill in a blank like some curricula. Of course fear always helps to sell a product. Anyway, ACE was bashed because of being a textbook and workbook based.
I spoke to an ACE Representative recently and he acknowledged that ACE is aware of all the bad press out there, but they have determined to push ahead producing solid Christ-honoring curriculum and not waste time and energy responding to critics or trying to silence them. They want to stay on the higher ground, Amen!
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