A.C.E. (Accelerated Christian Education) materials are designed for children to work independently. No lesson preparation or presentation by the parent is necessary. Children work through individual worktexts, called PACEs (12 per course, per year, although the rate can be varied to suit each child).
A.C.E. diagnostic tests are important for determining placement of our child in the material. They will identify learning gaps, performance levels, and levels of mastery. The tests are also useful to those who are not using their material. These tests are shorter than thestandardized tests and are not timed. Diagnostic testing is also available on CD-ROM.
Once children have been placed at the proper performance level in each subject area, they work sequentially through the PACES as they master the material in each one. This methodology is called "Mastery Learning." Students might be working at different levels in different subjects according to their individual abilities and needs.
These small workbooks contain instruction, information, questions (with blanks), and tests. Some high school science courses include lab worksheets. Children take quizzes as they complete each section of a worktext before proceeding to the next. Especially at younger grade levels, tests generally cover only what has recently been studied, relying largely on short-term memory.
A.C.E. has materials for grades K-12, most of it printed in full color. Subjects are covered under general headings of Bible, Math, Language Arts (English), Word Building (spelling and vocabulary) for grades 1-9 only, Science, and Social Studies. Electives are also available in Bible, business, computer literacy, economics, typing, art, literature, music, speech, government, health, French, and Spanish. Because School of Tomorrow views acquiring Biblical wisdom as a major educational goal, they have added "wisdom lessons," Scripture memory, and Biblical values throughout the curriculum.
Bible Reading curriculum is available for four levels (approximately grades 1-4). The Bible Reading courses have children read Scripture, then fill in blanks with one-word answers taken verbatim from the text.
Word Building reinforces phonics, then works on vocabulary and etymology at upper levels. Word Building tests with digitized speech are now available on CD-ROM, which makes it much easier for students to complete the Word Building PACEs independently.
A.C.E. social studies is big on the "social" end (e.g., the first half of the seventh grade level is entirely devoted to careers) along with church and Bible history, but lacking in comprehensive coverage of world and United States history and geography until high school level. At eighth grade level, A.C.E. social studies shifts to stronger history coverage up through high school.
Supplemental books are required or recommended with a number of courses, more so at the upper levels than in the early elementary grades, but these are increasingly being eliminated as PACEs are rewritten to stand alone, with the exception of their new Literature and Creative Writing course which includes a number of readers essential to the course.
Fourth editions have been published for some subjects. Fourth editions have full-color covers, updated information, lists of goals, more attractive page layout, new graphics, and some more challenging questions.
A.C.E. designed the material to move slowly at the primary levels with much attention given to drill. The difficulty curve rises quickly once you move past the elementary grades.
A.C.E. biggest weakness is that the material relies heavily upon simple recall rather than deeper thinking. Students can scan for the correct answer without having to really think about the material. There is little to encourage deeper thinking. From about fifth grade and up, more thinking and application skills are required, but the curriculum never operates at the same thinking-skill levels as curriculum from other major Christian publishers.
While no lesson preparation is required with A.C.E. PACEs, parents should use preparation time to develop activities that correlate with lessons to enhance the child's learning experience. Parents should also discuss PACE material with students to ensure that they are understanding rather than simply going through the motions of completing their worktexts.
A.C.E. also has preschool material (Preschool with Ace and Christi) which covers readiness topics. A separate course for beginning reading is entitled A B C's with Ace and Christi. It is presented in a more traditional format, requiring teacher presentation of lessons.
Some A.C.E. materials are also published in Spanish. Math, Language Arts, A B C's with Ace and Christi, Social Studies, and Science for grades 1 through 6 are almost all available.
A.C.E. sells a Quick Start Kit for $9.95 that includes a Diagnostic Test Kit (for one student), their Home Educator’s Manual, a record keeping set, and a scope and sequence book. This kit will help you figure out how to get started in the curriculum much more easily than if you try to do it on your own.