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Friday, September 29, 2017

A.C.E. Curriculum Review: Science PACES


5th Grade Science PACE sample


Even though it’s not my favorite subject in general, my favorite A.C.E. subject is science. I love the emphasis on Creation, and my kids really enjoy working in the Science PACEs. Even if you aren’t doing all A.C.E., I highly recommend their science curriculum.

I have a fifth grader this year, and so far, there has been a science project in every PACE! This is great since my son loves hands-on activities. When I think back to my time in A.C.E. schools, I don’t remember doing many projects. I don’t know if there were less projects in the PACES back then, or if we just skipped them since it says, “Project to do at Home.” People who had bad experiences in A.C.E. schools need to realize that students get more out of the curriculum at home.

My older kids used to ask to skip the projects, buy my current students love them so we take the projects very seriously--even running to Walmart the same day for any supplies we don’t have. Most of the materials needed are regular household items, and whatever we need to buy only costs a couple of bucks.

Projects are found in other A.C.E. subjects, too, for example, my third grader recently made lemonade to reinforce a math lesson about liquid measurements, and my fifth grader made a tee-pee in Social Studies. With this new batch of kids, the projects are definitely a hit.


The A.C.E. Science Curriculum
needs no supplementation; however, I do purchase visual aids from Abeka. My fifth grader loves his bug cards, which he has been enjoying for a couple of years now. Other ways my children learn science are caring for a variety of pets and helping my husband with his annual vegetable garden. We don’t have a garden this year since we moved late in the season, but the kids have several bean plants going in the kitchen, and I’m growing a pineapple.

Pinto Bean Plants 





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Thursday, September 28, 2017

[Video] A.C.E. Grade Levels and PACE numbers explained

In this video I explain how to calculate the grade level of an A.C.E. PACE...


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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A.C.E. Curriculum Review: Social Studies PACES and Supplementation Ideas

Social Studies Pace 51 Objectives, 5th Grade Level


2nd page of S.S. Pace 51 Self Test

S.S. Pace 51 Self Test



ACE Social Studies is great and is a true social studies course in that it covers a lot more than just history and geography. The best thing about the social studies PACES is that they instill a biblical perspective. I love how there is so much Bible in the PACES and how timelines are used to demonstrate where biblical accounts correspond with other events in ancient history.

The curriculum starts out a little light when first and second graders are mainly just getting reading practice. It picks up in third grade and touches on a wide variety of topics each year. In addition to the typical history and geography, A.C.E. goes pretty deep into Christian subjects such as church history and missions. Overall, A.C.E. provides a well-rounded sampling of information, which is probably more important than alternatively drilling the most well known facts of U.S. and world history year after year.

3rd grade level Social Studies, Pace 26

Social Studies Pace 26


That said, I like to supplement the PACES with a few other materials during the younger grades. People tend to judge the quality of your education based on your knowledge of U.S. history (among other things.) For this reason, I like my kids to start learning about our country a little earlier. 

We usually have a first or second grade Abeka history book around the house, and I have used those as readers for younger students. When kids are in first, second, and third grade, they are reading books to you anyway so you might as well be teaching them history while they practice their reading. Another way we incorporate history into reading time is with leveled readers, which I find on Amazon. One of my favorites is George Washington and the General’s Dog, which is a level 3 Random House reader. The First Thanksgiving is another example of a historical Level 3 book in our family’s library. In addition to good books, a globe is a must in every homeschool. Finding places on the globe is one of my five year old's favorite pastimes. 

Our favorite supplemental history activity is watching the PBS cartoon, Liberty’s Kids. The boys especially start enjoying that series at as early as four years of age. I can’t say enough good things about it, and we watch it together every few years. Liberty’s Kids can be watched for free on Youtube, but I am planning to eventually order the DVD set from Christianbook.com.


533608: Liberty"s Kids: The Complete Series, 4-DVD Set Liberty's Kids: The Complete Series, 4-DVD Set

By Mill Creek Entertainment



Travel back in time with Benjamin Franklin's teenage reporters as they confront the dangers of the American Revolution! Can their friendship survive when they find themselves on opposing sides of the battle? Your kids will enjoy 40 animated episodes featuring the voices of Walter Cronkite, Annette Bening, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas, and many others. Four DVDs, approx. 14.5 hours total.

Last year we watched several episodes of Liberty’s Kids on Youtube, but we didn’t end up finishing because we shut off our internet in preparation for an out of state move. Even if you drop the ball and don’t end up emphasizing history in your homeschool, just relax because the A.C.E. curriculum does eventually cover everything. Did I mention I love PACES!? 


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Why I Love A.C.E. School of Tomorrow Curriculum

A.C.E. PACES


I was in A.C.E. schools for eight years from 2nd through 9th grade so I am essentially a product of A.C.E. I got a good education that prepared me for college and other various pursuits so when I decided to start homeschooling my oldest two kids over 11 years ago, A.C.E. was the obvious choice.

A.C.E. is not the latest trend in homeschooling, but it is by far the easiest program to implement. There is no lesson planning, and the A.C.E. workbooks, called “PACES” are designed in such a way that most of the work is done independently. Since each subject is broken down into 12 PACES (workbooks) per subject per year, three weeks of schoolwork fits easily into a one and a half inch binder. This makes the curriculum extremely portable.

Home schooled 5th Grader Working in PACES


Another great thing about homeschooling with A.C.E. is that you don’t have to purchase an entire year’s worth of curriculum at once. PACES and “score keys” can be purchased individually if need be, which allows for a low start-up cost. Also, the curriculum isn’t constantly being updated so the score keys can often be re-used with consecutive children.

I like the fact that A.C.E. comes from an independent fundamental Baptist source. That obviously isn’t an issue in subjects like math or spelling, but when it comes to social studies and science it is important to me that the curriculum we use is written from a Christian perspective. Even in an English curriculum, example sentences tend to communicate the agenda of the writers, and for the most part, the message of A.C.E. is in line with our core beliefs.

Not only do I want a curriculum with a fundamental Christian world view, but I want any verses it cites to come from the King James Bible. Modern translations come from corrupted texts, omit entire verses, and clearly have an agenda. If you don’t understand the importance of using the King James Bible or are curious about the history behind it, you may want to watch the documentary, “New World Order Bible Versions” for more information on this important issue.

Reading the King James Bible


For most of our family’s homeschooling adventures, I have used a combination of A.C.E. and Abeka, which is another Christian curriculum that meets my criteria. I have four kids still living at home, and they are all being home schooled. Two of them are doing A.C.E. this year, and the other two are doing Abeka. Abeka is a great curriculum to start with because of its state of the art phonics program, but later it can become time consuming, especially if you do their accredited DVD program. For this reason, I am thinking about simplifying things by putting all four of my students in PACES next year.
 
Other brands of curriculum I’ve used are Alpha Omega Publications and Landmark Freedom Baptist Curriculum, but I always end up going back to the tried and true A.C.E. No curriculum is perfect, and there are a lot of options out there, but I highly recommend PACES, especially for large families or parents who are feeling overwhelmed with homeschooling. Your homeschooling friends might be impressed if you attend every home school convention and constantly try new books and methods, but you could burn out eventually from all the preparation involved in unit studies and what not. Go ahead and throw in something extra now and then, but A.C.E. covers all the bases and is easy to keep up with consistently, year after year.


There is so much more to talk about, but this post is the first of a series I plan to write about the ins and outs of homeschooling with A.C.E. I plan to go into A.C.E.’s strengths and weaknesses and discuss how and when I supplement the A.C.E. curriculum. Hint: Don't throw away your Abeka catalog! I plan to review each subject individually and will be including pictures of some of our PACES. I’ll also show you some practical tips for saving time while getting the most out of A.C.E. in the home school setting…


Click here to see samples of A.C.E. Curriculum.