Sustainability is a “buzz word” today, particularly related to the natural resources and energy consumption. But the word itself means “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.”
Is homeschooling “sustainable” (able to be maintained at a certain rate or level) all the way through to graduation? That is the question I want to address here.
I have met with families who are hesitant to start homeschooling because they are not sure they can continue doing it. Or some have a fear that they won’t be able to give their teen a good education and teach them the “tough courses.” Or maybe they’ve observed a homeschooling friend who is all gung-ho and uses a different curriculum publisher for every subject each year, and the thought of sorting through all the options at the regional curriculum fair just makes their head swim. Or maybe they’ve already tried a few different curriculum options and hit roadblocks and gotten discouraged.
Homeschooling is sustainable if you use ACE PACES for your core curriculum. Here are nine ways ACE helps the sustainability of homeschooling.
1. Consistent Design and Layout.
Once a student starts using the PACE system and gets familiar with the components of goal-setting, working through a PACE, studying for and taking the final PACE tests, and completing 12 PACES per year per subject, there are no major changes or surprises. Those learned procedures and expectations will continue all the way through high school. That helps the student and the parent hit the ground running each school year without trying to adjust to a new curriculum.
2. Independent Learning.
Many other curriculum options require a lot of work for the parent (usually mom) to prepare lessons, present the content, assign work, grade the work, write tests, remind about reading and writing assignments, etc. All that work is then multiplied times several courses and multiplied times several students all at different grade levels. When mom is busy helping a younger child with school work, the other children may be stalled waiting for their next assignment or input. Or mom may have to stop to care for meals, laundry, or baby, and the schooling stops temporarily. But with the ACE curriculum, each student can continue working at his level and rate with minimal direct involvement by mom. Instead, mom can manage the paperwork, progress checking, and accountability when it is convenient for her. Read “A typical day in the life of a homeschool mom” to see how this plays out for one mom who homeschools several children using PACES.
There are always unexpected interruptions in the school year, including sickness, birth of another child, or one child with high needs. Some moms may have to work part-time outside the home or run a home-based business. These obstacles do not need to slow down or stop the homeschooling if the students are using PACES. They can continue making progress on their own, and mom can step in later to give the help needed. I know of a few teens with medical needs who are regularly needing to go to doctor visits or even surgeries – they can take a few thin PACES with them and continue working between appointments. Missionary families find the PACES work well with traveling on deputation or being on the field and needing their children to work independently.
4. Works for all.
The PACES were designed to be used successfully with every style of learner. There are adaptations that can be used to help students who have learning struggles, including children with Down’s Syndrome who have seen progress using PACES. Gifted students can do the PACES and supplement with extra research to make the course into an Honors Course. PACES are being using all around the world, including South Africa, New Zealand, Thailand, Ireland, England, Philippines, and many other countries.
5. Prepares for college.
Some parents may wonder if the self-paced curriculum in the PACES really prepares students for college. It does! I have an entire article on this topic, but in a nutshell, one of the main indicators of success in college is how well students are able to set goals, manage their time, and complete assignments on time. More and more, colleges are expecting students to do distance-learning and other independent learning. ACE prepares students to excel with these college or university expectations.
6. Not dependent on technology.
I love technology. I’ve had a computer in my home since the first PC was available, and I love my smartphone. But I also know that technology is prone to stop working and can cause serious frustration and interruption in schooling when it inevitably crashes. Technology also gets outdated so quickly that it is hard for publishers to keep up with the latest developments and the variety of software platforms. Using paper booklets may seem “old school,” but the up-side is that they are usable anywhere, anytime – even when there’s no internet or power available!
7. Scorekeys can be reused.
The ACE curriculum doesn’t update often, so scorekeys can be used for years. In our Christian school, we have had scorekeys in use for over a dozen years. Sometimes a PACE gets a face-lift, but the scorekey answers remain the same. In recent years, several courses have undergone a major update to Fourth Edition, and the scorekeys are significantly different, but I am confident that once I purchase the updated scorekeys, I can use them for many more years. Here’s an ugly secret from many curriculum publishers – their money-making model is to make just enough changes to a new edition every few years that everyone has to replace all their books, keys, teacher editions, etc. I am thankful ACE doesn’t do that! (Mind you, I do wish they would update their World History course from the 1977 edition I completed when I was in high school!)
8. Thorough scope and sequence.
Have you ever wondered what needs to be learned by students in each different grade and subject? There are many resources out there for teachers, administrators, and homeschool parents on this topic – but it can quickly become confusing and overwhelming to a parent. Thankfully, the ACE authors have thoroughly researched this field and designed a curriculum from kindergarten through high school graduation that covers everything students need to learn, introducing topics in early grades and building on them in later years, until the content is mastered. Students who stick with the curriculum will not have major gaps in their understanding.
9. Support from users.
Once your teen in high school, there might be some tough PACEs in English, Science, Math. But there are others who have gone through those PACES and are able to offer help. Join the Yahoo Group and post your question there. There are Facebook groups where you can post questions. And of course, there are many resources and videos here at PACESuccess.net to help your teen see success! Use the “contact form” to ask questions directly. Join one of the diploma programs or umbrella (cover) schools and get help when needed.
Homeschooling with ACE is SUSTAINABLE! You can do it – all the way through to high school graduation!
Here are some other articles you might enjoy:
- Will ACE prepare my child for college?
- 7 Situations Ideally Suited to PACES
- Why Melissa’s boys love PACES
- Renee Ellison – Reasons to Stick with PACES
- Paige’s Advice for Effective Homeschooling with ACE
- The secret to not feeling overwhelmed as a homeschool mom
- Creative ideas for organizing your ACE Homeschool