Accelerated Christian Education (ACE Curriculum) Review

by John OReilly

Former ACE curriculum user shares why parents should think twice about using ACE homeschool curriculum in their home school.

Hey, my name is John. I see there have been mostly glowing reviews of the ACE curriculum here, so I thought I might provide a counterpoint. I used the ACE program at a Christian School in the 90's. It is mostly rote memorization that requires simply repeating answers found in the text. It will not develop creative thinking!

Another deficiency is the lack of a true literature program; this is an essential part of education, and it is a shame to miss it. ACE is a tempting option for home school parents who are not all that knowledgeable in the subjects the kids are learning, because it requires so little direct teaching. You're kids are precious though, and deserve the best you can give them. In my humble opinion, you can do much better than ACE.

Just for a little background, after I finished with ACE I tried A Beka, and it was like night and day! A Beka is a much more demanding curriculum, but the results are worth it. I have done well with it. After graduating I attended Cornell for undergrad and Yale for medical school, and I am currently practicing in the Boston area. I would not be where I am today without switching from ACE to A Beka. I strongly urge parents not to shortchange their children's education.

Great review, John! Thanks for taking the time to share your ACE curriculum experience with others. You're insight and words of wisdom are very helpful. Blessings, Heather

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Comments for Accelerated Christian Education (ACE Curriculum) Review

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Jun 21, 2011
ACE Review comment.
by: Audrey M

I also went through the ACE Curriculum for my high school years as well as for 5-6 grades. I was able to skip 2 grades using this curriculum and graduate at age 16. I do not however have a very favorable review of this particular curriculum. I would have to agree that it is mostly rote memorization and very weak in many ways. The biggest problem I had once I went to college was being able to write papers. ACE is very weak in both literature and writing. I also have had many issues with my reading comprehension in large part due to the fact that I was able to find answers and memorize to pass any test in all subjects including upper math and science. I was the only person in my Christian high school that graduated early and also the only one that completed 4 years of both math and science including Physics and Pre-calculus. I received every award my school gave out to the students for educational achievement and yet I still feel short-changed in my education. I have seen on many occasions, children that have severe handicaps be able to graduate using this curriculum (including down syndrome and severe autism). I would say this curriculum is great for children that are not performing at grade level or may find school challenging but I would not suggest this curriculum for normally functioning children or for gifted children.

Jul 24, 2012
No critical thinking or logical reasoning NEW
by: Delene

I went to an ACE school in south africa and did extremely well at school. When I got to university (med school), I STRUGGLED immensely in every subject except linguistics and psychology which required rote memory and memorization rather than critical thinking and logical reasoning. At school I got high marks for creative writing, but in university, I could not answer essay questions dealing with patient management even though I had all the knowledge/facts. I had no way of integrating it and thinking out the box to formulate treatment plans or to explain what needed to be done in a manner that was acceptable to the professors.

When my husband and I decided to homeschool our kids, I started with ACE reading readiness. My son loved the characters but absolutely could not sit still long enough for the HOURS AND HOURS of intensive READING that I had to do with him and which he had to answer questions to. It sucked!

For K5, I switched him to Abeka academy video streaming. He loved it and thrived. For grade 1, he stayed with Abeka and he hated his new video teacher. She spoke too fast and it was taking him more than 10 hours per day to finish school!

We're doing grade 2 this year using Alpha Omega Lifepacs, and they are absolutely no match for ACE or for Abeka.

I was really torn about going back to Abeka next year because of how awful and stressful Grade 1 was for our family, but you went to med school and thrived. ACE couldn't do that. I went to med school and struggled to finish my degree. I only figured out out the box thinking and wholistic thinking when I did my master's degree.

I called School of Tomorrow and discussed my concerns with them and they did not have any answers for me regarding how easy it is to "cheat" on the Pace tests and learning to think logically and critically. I even asked if the rep could make and note and say something to whoever is in charge of curriculum, but they won't do that. The fact is ACE wants testimonies of people who did well using their curriculum but those that did did not go to med school and have to think out the box. They go to bible school, become teachers, maybe there's an accountant or businessperson scattered in, but I want my children to have a world of opportunities open to them when they decide on a career and I absolutely DO NOT want them to struggle the way I did.

Thank you for your review and the above comment. You helped me make up my mind. We'll most likely go back to Abeka.

Apr 09, 2013
Abeka vs. Monarch/AOP/Switched on Schoolhouse NEW
by: Anonymous

We used Abeka videos and online streaming for many years and my children absolutely thrived and excelled more than I could imagine. Due to loss of some income, we had to scale down on cost and we decided to use Monarch...(Monarch, AOP Lifepac and Switched on Schoolhouse are one and the same curriculum, just different formats.) We hated Monarch. We ended up floundering for a few months, because it was extremely boring and basically a waste of time. We found different books here and there, but have not really decided what we will continue with at this point. Abeka is my favorite curriculum and I wish somehow that I could afford it again. If you can afford it, it is the best way to teach your children at home.

Jan 26, 2014
ACE great for special needs children! NEW
by: momforkeeps

I have to agree re ACE curriculum, except when it comes to special needs children. My 13 year old is in the 7th grade working at a 3rd and 4th grade level. Because of his disabilities, rote memory is what it takes for him to learn. ACE has worked wonders for him. It goes very slow, and he is able to be successful. When he was in the public school, he would have 1 to 2 migraines a week from the stress and was reading at a 2nd grade level. In one year he has gone from 2nd grade reader to a 4th grade level.

Jan 27, 2014
Re: ACE great for special needs children! NEW
by: Heather (site owner)

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with ACE in regards to special needs children. Your comments will be very helpful to parents looking for homeschooling programs for a special needs child.
I appreciate the time you took to help others!
Heather :)

Apr 02, 2014
ACE worked for me! NEW
by: Alicia

I used the ACE program in the 90s (and went to the same school as John, from Boston) and it worked well for me. My parents were the administrators of the school we attended. I was able to graduate a year early and travel. I went to college and graduated with high honors, and then to graduate school and graduated with honors and a Master's degree in Journalism. In the 90's, specifically, the ACE program was deficient in math and very strong in language arts (although not very strong in literature, specifically). However, I did see many kids struggle with the isolation of working on your own (although it was perfect for me since I hate being watched over). Our school switched to Saxon math, eventually, and A Beka, as John mentioned. More recently, as I have explored ACE for my own kids, I have examined their math closely (as I have a son who wants to go into engineering) and plan to look for another curriculum for it. Overall, I think the PACEs are self-explanatory and excellent for certain subjects and I love the Christian worldview they present. However, I don't think there is a "one size fits all" program at all and the ACE program lets you choose what you want to use, (ie. you can buy just the World Building PACEs) and you can supplement other programs for other subjects. I loved the program and consider myself a success story. I'm even a critical thinker! (although, again, I will say from experience that it's truly not a fit for every type of personality or learning style).

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