What do the English PACES cover in high school?

Maybe you’re considering starting with ACE for English and Literature and wondering what the curriculum covers. Or maybe you’ve already started and are just wondering what the future years have in store for your student. As a school “supervisor” who has been using the curriculum for over 15 years (and even went through it as a student myself back in the 1970’s), I want to give you a look ahead to know what to expect.

Literature and writing are vital components of the total English grammar, literature, and spelling package. Students in Levels 2 through 6 complete Literature & Creative Writing PACES. In grades 7 and 8 there are Study Guides that may be issued with every other English PACE (so 6 per year) which give students questions to answer and essays to write based on the assigned books.

Starting with Level 9 English PACEs, literature is incorporated into the PACEs. In Level 11, emphasis is on American literary periods and writers and Level 12 deals with the writers and periods of British Literature.

Throughout English, Word Building, and Literature & Creative Writing, students become familiar with a variety of literature forms, including novels, biographies, autobiographies, short stories, essays, and poems. They are guided in writing various literary styles. Creativity is encouraged, and students learn to proofread and correct their work by using specific guidelines and checklists.

That’s the overview. Now let’s dig a little deeper and describe these components with more detail.

Literature and Creative Writing

Students in Levels 2-6 using the Literature and Creative Writing course will read several books written for their age that they will enjoy. They will also gain experience expressing their ideas with creative writing assignments. Many of the assignments are subjective and require the supervisor to read and discuss with the student which leads to development of critical thinking skills.

Important Tip: If your student is struggling with Literature and Creative Writing, try issuing the level below his chronological grade. Many students find this a better fit.

Basic Literature

Basic Literature Study Guides are completed in conjunction with Levels 7 and 8 English PACEs. These study guides contain questions as well as tests and composition assignments for each literature book per level.

The literature books and Study Guides are issued with odd-numbered PACEs. As a help, the note Issue Literature with This PACE is printed on the cover of odd-numbered English PACEs.

Encourage students in their reading of literature books and require them to set literature reading goals on their Goal Cards. As soon as each Study Guide has been completed, the student should be given the Literature Test. This must be completed before the next odd-numbered PACE Test is given.

Some of my favorite books were part of this list of reading when I was in junior high myself. Titles such as: Martyr of the Catacombs, Twice Freed, Up From Slavery, and The Hiding Place.

Tip: Divide the total number of pages in the book by the maximum days to be allowed for completion to determine the number of pages to be read each day. Be sure to allow time for the composition as well. Each unit should take about 6 weeks to complete.

Another Tip: If a student is struggling to keep up with the more challenging junior high level curriculum, you may consider making the literature study guides optional, decreasing some of the assignments, or not requiring the tests. I would require SOME recreational reading every day, however, for a set amount of time.

High School English

English I (1097-1108)

In this course your students will learn about the history of the English language. They will also be challenged by the comprehensive review of grammar—including emphasis on basic sentence patterns and the eight parts of speech—review and practice of punctuation and capitalization along with verb conjugations.

Writing skills are again emphasized as students are encouraged to think analytically and to write with clarity. This level includes an in-depth study of two literature books, The Swiss Family Robinson and Twice Freed.

 English II (1109-1120)

More emphasis is given to writing skills at this level. This course begins with an intensive study of the four kinds of paragraphs and practice in writing each. From there, students move on to biography and autobiography, with a detailed reading and study of God’s Tribesman and The Hiding Place (a favorite book of many former ACE students!). The course also includes poetic forms and poetry appreciation. The last two PACES cover library skills and newspaper articles; though these two PACES are sorely out of date, we have a supplement for English 1119 which covers internet research and documentation, and I have tips for helping your student with the newspaper article requirements.

Grammar is again an integral part of this course, and special emphasis is placed on correct sentence structure and noun and verb functions, including verbals.

English III (1121-1132)

How has America’s history affected its literature? Students find out as they follow the chronological presentation of American literature in this course. Included are Christian writers whose works are not found in most other American literature courses. Students learn how to evaluate an author’s philosophy and style. Appropriate writing activities provide challenging experiences in various writing genres. (Required reading: In His Steps.)

Each unit incorporates a review of grammar. Emphasis and detailed instruction are given in essay writing. Research paper preparation is explained and visualized as a step-by-step process and culminates in students writing a research paper. Be sure your student watches my videos for this course to get an overview of the writing project and I have a term paper guide you can download as well as a rubric for grading the term paper.

English IV (1133-1144)

Do your students know what constitutes good literature? They will learn as they complete the 12th level English course. All twelve PACEs provide examples and analysis of the best literature from various writers and literary periods of British literature. Students learn how to evaluate a writer’s style and technique as they read selected classical works. Along with reading comes opportunity for self-expression as students write summaries, comparisons, contrasts, sketches, and evaluations.

Grammar is an integral part of the course with thorough review of parts of speech, sentence structure, and proper usage. Students learn to identify and correct split infinitives and dangling modifiers. The unit about connotation versus denotation word meanings often opens some interesting discussions with teens. Writing skills are covered again along with the basics of speech preparation and presentation in the final PACE 1144. (Required Resources: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Silas Marner.)

I also want to mention that all of the 9th-12th level English PACES include a “Wisdom Pack” in the middle which covers various topics related to Christian teens and their relationships and spiritual walk with God. I have a separate article explaining the Wisdom Packs more so I won’t elaborate here, but they are helpful and the content is included on the PACE tests.

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