In the past, I have a had a slight aversion to using the A.C.E. curriculum. I felt that overall, A.C.E. was a weak curriculum. I explain my story and feelings HERE. However, as a homeschooling Mom of five who is now almost in her fourth quarter of using A.C.E. for most subjects, I have found that I genuinely love this curriculum! I certainly see that it isn’t perfect, but my last curriculum wasn’t perfect either.
I wanted to post some things that I have loved about using this curriculum. For our family, and for our current situation, it is a perfect fit.
1. I love that it allows the student to learn himself/herself. They read the directions, they do the work. Mom kicks back and sips lemonade….wait a minute. I wish! Mom does laundry, makes menus/grocery lists, folds laundry, sweeps, changes baby, feeds baby, teaches kindergartener to read and count, makes snacks, makes lunch, cleans house…you get the idea. For the older ones to have the ability to work independently most of the time is HUGE for me. 🙂
2. It moves at a slower pace. In my early years of homeschooling, I frowned upon this feature of A.C.E. I felt that “The earlier the better!” However, when it comes to a child’s academic pace, I’m starting to believe the phrase, “Better late than early.” Many concepts cannot be fully grasped until the child’s brain is mature enough. We understand this easily when it comes to walking, or potty training. I’m not worried that my seven month old isn’t walking – he’s not ready yet! The same goes for higher math and English skills. The brain will be ready, well, when it’s ready! As long as these concepts are mastered before graduation, my child will do fine. After all, have you ever filled out a job application that asked, “Did you learn cursive in first grade?” or “Did you have your multiplication facts memorized by second grade?” Nope. They will get it. After all, I used A.C.E. most of my years and I turned out okay! Right? RIGHT? Never mind.
3. A specific character trait is stressed in each Pace (workbook). I like that not only do they learn a verse in every subject, but they also read about a specific character trait to practice in their lives. They learn about being thrifty, discreet, obedient, honest, etc.
4. Progress is clearly visible. We use the start charts, or progress charts, to keep track of our work. The kids love seeing the chart fill up with stars!
5. I really like the ABC’s of A.C.E., especially the songs because they remind me of my youth.(Heehee!) I used A Beka phonics with my older two kids, but decided to do A.C.E. phonics with my third. Let me say, it is SO much easier to teach them to read with the A.C.E. method. So. much. easier!
6. I REALLY love the Creative Writing/Literature Paces. They didn’t offer these, or we didn’t get them at my school, when I was growing up. They were an excellent addition to their material! They are thorough, fun and well-written paces. I love the book selections that go along with them. I plan on adding some additional writing for my seventh grader next year, because the Creative Writing/Literature only goes through 6th grade.
The best part is that my children can set their own goals, get started on the day and sometimes finish without needing much assistance from me. I grade all of my 3rd grader’s work, as well as my 6th grader’s checkups and self-tests (practice tests), to make sure they are getting it. We use Math-U-See for math, because I was having a hard time keeping up with their math work using A.C.E. (My kids struggle with math and I didn’t want the concepts to be rushed over or ignored.) If I weren’t so busy with younger ones, I could easily go over each new concept with my older ones using A.C.E. But, I’m busy. K? 😉
As I said, this is what has worked best for our family right now. That’s one thing that I love about homeschooling in general – the ability to make it work, to tweak it, to get it right.