Affordable, easy to use, easy to read, compact and with a strong Biblical worldview, ACE PACE curricula can be a great option for Christian families looking for a solid, traditional core for their studies.
What We Like
But watch out for…
What Are ACE PACEs?
Produced by Accelerated Christian Education, ACE PACEs are Christian independent learning curricula that cover a wide variety of subjects and grades, including math, English, science, social studies, Bible study and more.
These PACEs (Packets of Accelerated Christian Education) make use of a combination of small and sequential workbook-style packets that are filled with self-paced instruction, practice exercises, scripture, checklists, quizzes, tests and various subject-specific activities, such as labs, projects, oral recitations and more.
What Ages or Grades are ACE PACE Resources Intended For?
Broadly speaking, ACE produces PACEs that cover the pre K – grade 12 levels, with resources available to help homeschooling families learn core subjects, such as:
- Word building – Grammar, spelling, vocabulary and so on
- Social studies
- English Language Arts
There are also PACEs that cover elective subjects, such as:
- Bible study
- Health Studies
- And more
It is important to note, however, that ACE PACEs are not aligned with Common Core standards for learning and they aren’t as focused on specific grade levels than they are subject knowledge and skill mastery.
The PACEs themselves are divided into Levels (1-12), rather than grades, and there aren’t really any obvious grade level markings on any of the PACES, with the company instead using a four number code (level 7 English represented by 1073-1084, for example).
The company helpfully offers a free (albeit rather long) diagnostic test, available online or in paper format, which tests students across several academic areas (math, english, reading & comprehension, spelling) up to high school.
This test aims to identify any learning gaps or weaknesses and offers families a suggested starting place, something that can also be very helpful for those switching into ACE from another program or those new to homeschooling altogether.
Ultimately, and as a result of this skill-based orientation, we feel ACE PACEs can be a particularly good option for homeschoolers who don’t necessarily follow (or care about) a traditional grade progression, as well as those who are significantly ahead or below a typical grade level.
As the name implies, ACE PACE learning is based around their PACE packets, which are offered as softcover print books or digitally (ePACEs).
Each subject and level is broken up into twelve booklets that progressively and sequentially teach the course material to students.
These PACE packets are written to the student and are consumable workbook-style paperbacks that are pretty much stand alone, meaning they contain most of what students will need for the courses they teach, including:
- Lesson outline and goals
- Direct instruction
- Practice exercises
- Worksheets, activities and labs
- Progression checks
- Quizzes and tests
As a result, we feel that the packets are pretty compact and easy to use as a curriculum, not requiring parents to go out and buy, store and organize a lot of other materials.
The only thing they’re really missing is what really couldn’t feasibly be included in a workbook, such as books and full readers for literature, although these can be purchased along with the PACEs as a set or individually on their own.
The PACEs are also missing a scoring/answer key, which parents will need to purchase separately.
Keeping these answers in their own packets does go a long way in making ACE materials more independent learning oriented, in our opinion, as students won’t be able to cheat quite as easily, however it is an extra resource that parents will have to make sure to pick up.
We believe that the ACE PACE packets are, on the whole, pretty well laid out.
As mentioned, the packets take the form of a traditional textbook or workbook that’s been broken up into smaller parts and carry students through instruction, practice, reinforcement and testing.
They are clearly written with short and easy to read instructions for their exercises and activities, which makes their lessons a lot simpler for students to go through on their own without getting lost or confused.
They’re also often written as a kind of story or narrative, interspersed with color pictures and diagrams, which can make them a lot more interesting, informative and engaging for students to read through compared to a traditional dry textbook.
In addition, the practice activities and exercises included in the books are fairly plentiful and diverse.
Depending on the subject, ACE PACE sections can include:
- Hands-on kitchen science activities
- Vocabulary work
- Short and medium form questions
- Drawing exercises
- Handwriting copywork
- Fill in the blanks
- Multiple choice
- Math drills
- Line connection
- And more
In addition to this, the packets are also interspersed with scripture, which in addition to providing inspiration can be used for memory work and study, as well as colorful comic strips that are fun to go through and touch on traditional family values and life lessons that parents will appreciate.
In terms of the materials’ look and style, we feel that the 4th edition of ACE PACEs is a significant improvement over previous editions.
The PACEs are full color and have upgraded and modernized their illustrations, comics and graphics, making them a lot more attractive for students to look at and go through.
More practically, 4th edition PACEs now offer a clearer and easier to follow structure, with more detailed lesson outcomes and goals stated at the outset of each section, and have made their exercises, activities and problems sets more complex and rigorous, by and large, compared to previous editions, which parents will appreciate.
Additional ACE PACE Resources
Supplementing their PACEs, ACE also offers a number of resources that parents can access or pick up to help with learning and practice.
Notably, the company offers video-based instruction for many of its courses, including those in science, math (for high school), reading development, French, Spanish and music.
These videos, accessible as streaming on ACEconnect, provide lecture-based instruction and demonstrations (in the case of science, dissection and lab work as well) and critical listening and practice for language courses.
These videos can add an additional (and in the case of language courses required) audio-video component to learning, which can be quite effective and useful for many students, especially those who struggle with textbook-based learning.
The videos are somewhat oldschool in their look and style, many of them having been filmed years ago, and their format really depends on the subject in question.
Math and science lecture videos, for example, often have a host instructor speaking directly to the camera and demonstrating concepts on a digital blackboard of sorts, while language instruction may rely more on skits and conversations between actors, as well as on-screen animations.
In general, however, we found them to be professionally produced and generally pretty effective at conveying their message.
One thing to note, however, is that the videos can be pretty long, often between an hour or two in duration, as they are designed to go along with particular PACE workbooks.
Each video is, thankfully, pre-cued and broken up into multiple lessons, which makes them easy for students and parents to search through and work with.
In addition to their videos, ACE also offers a number of online apps that can be used along with their PACEs for extra practice.
For example, the company offers apps for reading (Readmaster), typing (Typemaster), math (Mathbuilder) and vocabulary/grammar (Wordbuilder).
These programs are linked to different levels of ACE PACEs and offer a bit of a higher tech element to ACE materials, giving students access to an assortment of digital skill building exercises and drills (e.g. multiple choice comprehension and vocab questions, reading exercises, math drill, typing exercises and so on) that give them much needed focused and fluency-building practice..
Much like some other digital learning platforms we’ve seen, these apps and their practice are automatically corrected, recorded and scored, which reduces the burden on parents to oversee student practice significantly…something we feel that busier homeschools will certainly appreciate.
On the downside, access to these apps does come as an additional cost (usually with an ePACE account) of about $89 per year for all programs and an unlimited number of students, which while not particularly all that expensive all told, does represent something else parents will need to budget for.
Ace PACE Approach To Teaching
As might be expected from the name (Accelerated Christian Education), ACE PACEs are Christian homeschool curricula (KJV Bible).
Each packet incorporates a good deal of biblical references, including scriptural passages students are expected to memorize, devotions, faith-based character traits that students are expected to work towards and so on.
The learning itself also tends to approach subjects through a strong Biblical worldview, with both its lessons and practice exercises taking influence from Christianity and scripture and often emphasizing traditional family values in their various examples, texts and, of course, comics.
Parents should note that the program’s science and history takes a Young Earth Creationist approach, meaning it ascribes the universe’s creation and function to divine influence and rejects theories such as the Big Bang, man-made climate change or evolution.
As a result, ACE PACEs can be particularly welcome for Christian homeschools looking for a curriculum with a very strong faith-based outlook, but may not be the most appropriate for those looking for secular or neutral resources.
Their strong Christian content and outlook also means they may not be ideal for faith-based homeschooling families of different religions.
ACE PACEs are designed to be used by students more independently and with less direct parental oversight than many other curricula out there.
In these curricula, each subject is broken up into 12 smaller segments and learning, practice and exercises are all written clearly and concisely enough to guide students through the process of learning without much of an issue, particularly if they already have a decent handle on reading and comprehension.
Further, each PACE also has a series of gating quizzes and section checks that prevent students from moving forward without developing a complete understanding or skill fluency, which is always helpful in preventing long term learning gaps.
Importantly, as we’ve mentioned, ACE PACEs keep their answer keys separate from the main book, which can help prevent cheating on the part of students (even if parents do have to buy and keep these separately from the main program).
Finally, ACE also incorporates video-based lectures and learning, which can go a long way in helping students tackle more complex topics (such as high school math or languages) or activities (such as multi-step experiments and labs in science), as well as dedicated, auto-scoring practice apps for certain subjects.
All this can make ACE PACEs very helpful for busy homeschools, whose parents may not have the time to teach or closely oversee learning, and can be a very effective way of helping hone stronger independent learning skills.
The only thing parents should consider is that ACE, like other self-paced and self-study homeschool curricula, does require some pre-existing ability to sit and study alone to be used most effectively.
In our opinion, ACE PACEs are, on the whole, fairly traditional programs that should be familiar to most homeschooling parents.
Although divided into smaller packets, each subject ultimately relies on textbook/workbook-based learning and their respective PACEs are filled with numerous tried and true methods for learning, such as:
- Writing exercises
- Note taking activities
- Drill and written practice
- Memory work
- Oral recitation
- Projects and lab work
At the same time, while a fairly traditional approach, ACE does include some multisensory components to their PACES, which we appreciate.
For example, depending on the subject in question, PACES can include oral discussions, hands-on demonstrations and experiments, video-based learning and more.
ACE also includes some tech-based learning for certain subjects, with online, cloud-based apps (Mathbuilder, Wordbuilder and so on) that can provide key digital drills and practice, as well as progress tracking and automatic grading capabilities.
With all that said, it is important to note that this more traditional approach to homeschool learning may not be for everyone.
The program may lack some of the more interpersonal and explorational activities that Charlotte Mason fans may prefer, for example, and ACEs more computational approach to math may not suit those looking for a more concepts-first program.
Further, ACE PACEs tend to use a lot of rote recall and drill as part of their practice and study, which may not be that enjoyable or effective for some students and may not be the preferred method of learning for homeschoolers who prefer more of a critical thinking-oriented, open-ended and analytical process.
Finally, a key component of ACE PACEs is their mastery approach to learning.
In other words, students don’t progress through their PACEs or even individual sections of learning without being able to demonstrate their understanding and ability in a series of checklists and quizzes.
Once a student achieves a level of proficiency in a particular topic or subject, i.e. a passing score on the above quizzes and checks, they move forward and begin learning new materials, with subsequent levels not really spending a lot of time reviewing or circling back to previously learned concepts (although each PACE does have periodic review areas, called recaps).
In this way, especially compared to more spiral programs, ACE PACEs can feel a lot less repetitive on the whole and can really allow students to spend more time working on the areas in which they need help or need to learn about.
That said, as with other mastery programs, the relative lack of spiral review can make things a bit more challenging for those who tend to develop skill and knowledge gaps over time, and it is important to note that some students can get bored or frustrated studying one topic or concept for weeks until they can demonstrate proficiency.
How They Work
As a whole, ACE PACEs are pretty easy and straightforward to use.
As we’ve mentioned, before beginning the program, students take a diagnostic test that assesses their math, english, reading/comprehension, vocabulary and spelling skills and suggests an appropriate level at which to start.
The materials for a year’s subject and level/grade of the program are broken up across 12 PACEs, which are approached in sequential order.
Students begin each section with a broad outline of that section’s topics and goals for learning, which they read aloud to their parents, as well as, in certain subjects, a list of vocabulary terms that they will define and learn.
Students are also usually given a small written description of a positive character trait that they should strive to emulate (reinforced by the included comics), as well as a related scripture verse that they are expected to memorize.
Following this, students begin the instructional component of their lessons, with the books containing narrative or story-like readings about specific topics.
For certain courses, such as high school science and math, students may also watch related videos on the ACE website, which helpfully have specific sections and topics pre-cued to suit particular PACE lessons.
Following their reading, students then do some practice, which (depending on the subject) can take the form of drills, multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks, illustrations and more.
In science curricula, there may also periodically be lab worksheets (with correlating lab videos found online) or even science experiments that students can do at home with parental supervision.
Each PACE also contains a number of so-called checkups, which are quizzes that students must complete and demonstrate a certain level of mastery or proficiency over what they have learned to that point, which serves to prevent them from breezing through the material.
At the end of each PACE students take a self test, which helps them figure out if they are ready to take a comprehensive final test, which can be administered the next day if students are ready for it.
Upon successful completion of the final test (with parents checking student work in the appropriate PACE answer key), students are ready to move on to the next PACE in the sequence.
Pros and Cons Of ACE PACEs
With a full year’s learning costing less than $50, ACE PACEs can be a very affordable homeschooling option and a good choice for families on tighter budgets.
Self-study and self-paced material
Clear, concise and well-structured, ACE PACEs carry students through the entire learning process, from instruction to review and testing, without issue and without any real need for preparation or much parental involvement.
Largely self-contained and compact
For the most part, ACE PACEs contain the resources and texts they need to teach their subjects, meaning parents don’t have to go out and source additional books, worksheets or testing materials.
Strong Christian content
ACE PACEs integrate a good deal of scripture, Christian thought and take a Bible-friendly approach to the subjects they teach, particularly when it comes to controversial topics in science and history.
Through dedicated content and related comics, they also instill positive, traditional values and character traits that we feel parents will appreciate.
Focus on skill mastery and understanding
Rather than aiming to fulfill common core standards or grade level expectations, ACE PACEs focus more on helping students develop a strong understanding and ability in the subjects they teach, taking a mastery approach to learning that can be effective in preventing the development of knowledge and skill gaps.
Free diagnostic test helps students find their level
ACE offers parents and students free, online (and paper-based) diagnostic placement tests to help them find the level that’s appropriate to them, which can go a long way in preventing students from becoming overwhelmed or bored by the material they are working with.
Wide assortment of electives and courses
In addition to the usual assortment of core K-12 courses, ACE produces PACES for a number of different interesting electives, such as accounting, business, Bible study, mission study, music, drama and more.
Strong emphasis on rote learning, memorization not for everyone
On the whole, ACE PACEs tend to lean a bit more heavily into traditional memory and rote work, which may not be the most preferred or effective method of learning for some students.
Answer keys sold separately
ACE also sells the answer packets for its PACEs separately.
While this does reduce the likelihood of cheating on the part of students, it does represent an additional purchase parents will have to make.
Who Are Ace Pace Curriculum Ideal For?
Christian families looking for conservative, faith-oriented K-12 curriculum
ACE PACEs offer K-12 learning through a solid, traditional Christian point of view, making them an excellent resource for families looking for such a curriculum.
Busy families looking for a comprehensive, easy to use self-study curriculum
ACE PACEs offer effective, self-study and self-paced learning across a number of core and extracurricular courses, which can take the burden of teaching off of parents to a fair degree.
Families who don’t want to buy a lot of extra material
ACE PACEs are pretty self-contained and don’t really require parents to go out and buy a lot of extra books or texts to use, which tends to make them a lot easier for families to buy, use and organize compared to some other programs.
Fans of mastery-based learning
ACE PACEs take a mastery approach to their material, teaching concepts one at a time and only allowing students to progress once they’ve demonstrated proficiency by achieving a certain outcome on their quizzes and tests, which can go a long way in preventing skill and knowledge gaps from forming.
Who Are They Not Ideal For?
Those looking for a secular, neutral or non-Christian curriculum
ACE PACEs are pretty traditional and Christian as far as homeschool curricula go, which can be an issue for those looking for secular, neutral or non-Christian homeschool resources.
Those who struggle with memorization and rote learning
Although it doesn’t rely solely on it, ACE PACEs tend to involve a good deal of memorization and rote learning, which may not be ideal for those who prefer a more open-ended, discovery or analytical approach.
Note: All prices correct at time of writing, all prices in USD.
By and large, ACE PACEs are notably pretty inexpensive compared to other curriculum sets.
Each subject is broken up into 12 individual PACEs, which can be purchased individually for around $2-4 each, depending on the subject and level in question.
These PACEs can also be picked up as a complete set, of course, for around $30-40 or so, again depending on their subject and level.
As always, parents should check for the latest prices and any deals or offers that may be available.
Are They Worth The Price?
On the whole, we feel that ACE PACEs can provide a lot of value for the right homeschooling family.
The PACEs are easy to use, well structured and straightforward in their instruction and practice, allowing students to work more independently across numerous subject areas, which in turn can give busy homeschool parents a break and teach students important lessons in ownership, self-control and responsibility.
The instruction itself is fairly comprehensive in scope and its methods of teaching and practice, while using quite a bit of rote work, can be surprisingly diverse, with numerous kinds of exercises and the option for integrating videos and practice apps in certain subjects.
ACE PACEs also maintain a traditional Christian outlook throughout, integrating a strong Biblical worldview and instilling traditional morals and proper character development through direct instruction and fun, family-friendly comics.
Finally, the series is extremely affordable.
The PACEs are not only fairly inexpensive, but are also pretty stand-alone as far as curricula are concerned, containing most of what is needed to teach their lessons and not requiring a lot of extra material for parents to buy, store and organize.
Affordable, easy to use, easy to read, compact and with a strong Biblical worldview, ACE PACE curricula can be a great option for Christian families looking for a solid, traditional core for their studies.
About the Author
Anne Miller is the editor of The Smarter Learning Guide and is a passionate advocate for education and educational technology. A mom of two, she majored in English Language and Literature and worked as a substitute teacher and tutor for several years. When not writing she continues to root for the Yankees and the Giants.