ACE (School of Tomorrow)

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ckstallard

  • Reviewed on Friday, December 5, 2014
  • Grades Used: 1-6
  • Dates used: 2003-2007
My sister and I attended a small school that utilized the A.C.E curriculum. Essentially, it was a home school program, but at a local church. When I reflect on my education during this time, I'm completely dissatisfied, and rather appalled.

I currently hold an MA degree in secondary English education, and can say that the ACE curriculum does nothing to prepare students for the college or career world. There is valid reasoning behind not accrediting this program.The course work focused primarily on basic character lessons rather than the content area. Content presented was basic, below grade- level, and students were and continue to be held to low standards. Rather than providing rigorous course work that engages students and promotes learning, ACE curriculum forces students to figure concepts out on their own, rather than provide them with quality instruction and practice.

While the character building lessons are sweet and definitely favored in a Christian school setting, I personally found them to be stereotypical, condescending, and in some regards, racist. For example, the best behaved, most well off characters throughout the curriculum are Ace and Christy, the children of white, upper middle class business owners. The characters who tend to make mistakes or sin are the overweight student, Pudge, and the African- American student (whose name escapes me). As a follower of Christ, I found and still do find this offensive. Instead of inviting students who may not yet know Jesus to have a relationship with Him, it discourages them and decreases their self- esteem. Students who do not have the traditional, American Dream-esque family might not feel as readily accepted. Instead of presenting the love and mercy of Christ, I feel this curriculum presents a legalistic template everyone must fit into in order to be accepted.

I was thankful to have been in a Christian school setting, but unfortunately, the ACE curriculum is lacking so much in quality. There is absolutely no evidence of researched pedagogical strategies designed to instruct students and activate their learning. I did have the opportunity to learn with A Beka Books for a few years after I attended the ACE school. A Beka is far superior to the ACE course work, accredited, and well enough aligned with Common Core Standards and researched instructional strategies to ensure students are able to enter professional and academic environments after secondary school.

If you are considering utilizing ACE curriculum with your child or in your school, I encourage you to do thorough research, review samples, and spend much time in prayer before selecting this material to educate your students. Consult teachers who not only love and fear God, but who have credentials in education who can guide you in your decision. As a teacher, as a Christian, I would not recommend this curriculum to anyone.

Aliangeleyes

  • Reviewed on Friday, October 10, 2014
  • Grades Used: 6th-8th
  • Dates used: 1980-1982
I am currently looking to start homeschooling my son who is 13yo in 8th grade. Considering my daughter as well (10yo). Work only p/t as I have had to drop back my hours to help my son 3-4 hours a day by literally re-teaching him schoolwork and in recent educational diagnostic testing ....found out that while he has a very high IQ, he has two learning disabilities related to executive functioning. I am considering Homeschooling as the public schools could no address his needs the way I can as I know him best. Public systems seem to expect to be able to teach every child the same way and get the same results. He is at risk and may fall through the cracks so to speak....if I don't make a change. There are various other reasons as well but this is the one that I CAN CHANGE....his environment.

All this to say....I am currently researching curriculum to make a prayerful decision and know what I am getting into before I do and to get an idea of whats out there. I had to sign up for and into this discussion from my own personal experience as a child.
When I was 12yo my mother moved my sister and I across the country to another state. When enrolling in public school there we were completely bored and felt like we weren't getting a good education. My mother couldn't home school as she was the only provider for our family.

At any rate, she found private christian schooling to be a fit for us. The school used ACE and we were in that curriculum for three years. We then moved back to our home state. I see why people say you can be at different grade levels because you do go at your own pace. My sister and I had the opportunity to excel beyond our expected level in some areas and take our time in areas we found harder to grasp.

My mother could not afford to send us back to private school nor was homeschooling an option for us. But to the folks out there that think that the program is not good enough or under par???? When we got back to Texas, the public school was disappointed that we were at "different levels" and almost scolded my mother for it.... They demanded assessment to see which grade we "fit" into and I really think they expected the worst....

The good news is that BOTH my sister and I tested one grade ahead of our peers at the same age and actually skipped up a grade in public school after only three years of doing Paces!!!! We both graduated public high school a grade ahead of the friends we left to move away three years before! I WILL be considering ACE in my planning. Though Perhaps it isn't a fit for everyone....I am sure there are plenty of other programs I can supplement into my kids education if needed. GOD IS GOOD!

cjvicker

  • Reviewed on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
  • Grades Used: K/1st
  • Dates used: 2013
My daughter started with ACE's preschool K4 curriculum last year and it worked very well to teach phonics and writing, so we decided to keep using ACE. This year I used ABC's with Ace and Christi, the 12 week reading program. My daughter was starting K, and although this program moves on to 1st grade curriculum after the 12 week program, this was the perfect fit for her age/ability.
My daughter has some special needs that fall into the speech category, with physical and comprehension/expressive language problems, but you wouldn't know it with how well she did with this program. She loves worksheets, but if your child does not, this may not be a good option, as there are about 8 sheets/lesson and 4 lessons/week. The lessons reviewed everything at the end of each week, which was a bit redundant for us, but was valuable. After only 12 weeks, she is reading BOB books easily, catching on to sight words without much effort on my part, is doing 100% better in reading comprehension, and has all of her phonics down. This was NOT something that medical professionals thought my daughter would be able to do at this age, so we are VERY pleased with this curriculum. On the con side, we did not purchase the animal science or math PACES (used MUS and Lesson Pathways for those) because, from our K4 experience, it was very, very basic and boring for my daughter. Also, the Bible lessons had a verse to be memorized every day, which is way too much for a Kinder. I would have liked a general Bible lesson every week, with each day delving into the character concept more and more. But overall, K4 and ABC's with Ace worked very well for my 5-year-old!!

Pikkewyn

  • Reviewed on Thursday, August 29, 2013
  • Grades Used: 4th-7th
  • Dates used: 2008-2013
I attended an ACE school from 5th to 10th grade and I really liked ACE. I was a motivated learner and I really enjoyed working at my own pace. Although I did not appreciate it then, I later began to appreciate ACE's emphasis on Christ-centered learning and Scripture memorization.

When we started homeschooling my son, we kind of decided to do it at the last minute when my job situation changed. I know that is not a good way to get started, but I did not want to put it off another year because my son was beginning to struggle in the public school environment. Because I had so little time to research curricula, I decided to go with what was familiar and what had worked for me. Well, my son is a different person, of course. He did okay with the PACES at first, but became bored with them quickly. He really began falling behind and although I tried to supplement his learning, it was sometimes difficult to find online materials and videos to match a particular objective. Not only that, but doing both was taking a lot of time and I found that my son was getting more out of online sources than from the PACES. I realized that the PACES just were not that effective for the way his brain was wired.

There are several advantages to the ACE program, though:

1. Ease of use. It is very easy to get started with the program. Simply order the PACES and Score Keys that you need. If you are not sure where your child is academically, they have online testing to get you started and fill in any learning gaps.

2. The materials are very inexpensive compared to other curricula. For one, you do not have to order an entire year's curriculum. If you are on a tight budget, you can buy the PACES and Score Keys that you need. Sometimes you can find used Score Keys or even PACES for sale online or through a used curriculum store.

3. Private school option. If you are worried about record keeping or your state is very picky about homeschooling or even if you are homeschooling in another country, you can enroll your child in their private school. I doesn't seem like it was very expensive, but the drawback is that you are limited to ACE curriculum for all subjects. You can't use Abeka for another subject for example. I am also not sure how much support is available for a struggling learner.

If you are just getting started and need a curriculum just to have something, then ACE is a good option. It is also good if you are homeschooling temporarily, such as if you have a sick child or are travelling. Because the cost is so low, it's worth trying, but it is not for everyone.
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