Monday, May 16, 2016

Our Journey With ACE PACEs

Image courtesy:
If you're like me, you're using the ACE curriculum. Also if you're like me, you had to get past the naysayers and negative reviews and find those who LOVE ACE before you felt comfortable using it. Furthermore, you had to put your hands on the PACEs themselves and look through them at various levels to see the "big picture" and how this program progresses. If this describes you, then you'll understand our journey to finding ACE PACEs about 5 years ago!

Accelerated Christian Education

When we first discovered ACE, I remember the "Why didn't we do this sooner?" feeling. Unfortunately, we left ACE for an eclectic route and some unschooling. While we enjoyed our time, I do wish I would've been as dedicated to ACE then as I am now. NOW, it would take lightning bolts from God to get me to change because now I see the disadvantages to changing programs and always being in "limbo" mode.

I also see the HUGE advantage of giving it to GOD and letting HIM lead you in your curriculum choices. I didn't even *want* to do ACE! I truly didn't want to do it.

At all.

But God (and our children, who begged to return to PACEs) had bigger plans. I remember praying, "Lord, I feel like you're telling me to go with ACE and if that's the case, you know I'm going to need a change of heart on this because I don't want to do it Lord." Boy has he answered that prayer!

He has shown me how to make ACE work for all of our children, regardless of their learning styles and individual needs. He has provided the financial means to afford the PACEs I didn't foresee being able to buy, and overall, He has given me a true sense of PEACE about ACE. More than peace, He has made me into a dyed-in-the-wool ACE user. To HIM be the glory--not me!

Below is a fantastic video put out by ACE that explains the ACE program more in-depth. It's about 26 minutes long but is well worth watching!

Regardless of your style of homeschooling or curriculum (which I never thought I'd be using again), I want to encourage you to give it to GOD. When you do, you will be less likely to change curriculum programs. Why? Because He led you to the program you chose. Mamas, that makes all the difference in the world. Make sure that you make a prayer-led decision when you choose a program. Of course, I recommend ACE for various reasons, but you have to choose the curriculum or homeschooling method that is right for your family. We have been around the block with homeschooling styles (from very structured to Charlotte Mason to Classical to unschooling) and have tried nearly every curriculum under the sun. In fact, I have a whole closet dedicated to bins for 12 different subjects or categories that are loaded with the curricula we've tried--or bought, realized it wasn't going to work for us, and just never bothered with it). In the end, we returned to ACE PACEs because it's where the Lord led us (and by "us" I do mean my husband and myself).

If you're feeling led to use ACE but are scared at all the negative reviews, don't let that get you down. Read (or re-read) that blog post and notice the commonalities amongst those who are naysayers. Then, join those of us who LOVE ACE on Facebook! We also have a Yahoo group (just go to Yahoo Groups and search for ACE PACEs Support), but it's not nearly as active as the FB group.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day! Here's the Motherload of FREEBIES from Educents!

Just when I thought they couldn't possibly offer a bigger FREEBIE bundle, Educents proved me wrong. {In a very big, very GOOD way!}

K-12th Grade Freebie Bundle!

How would you like over 750 FREE digital lessons for various content areas for K-12th? Whether you're a classroom teacher or a homeschooler, you'll find this resource invaluable! Wanna get it? Head on over to Educents and download it! But hurry! As of today, you only have 11 days left. Grab it while it's available!! :) 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Are ACE PACEs not "advanced"?

In my ACE PACEs Facebook group, someone recently said that another curriculum was more advanced than ACE. Here was my response, which I thought I'd share here for my readers.

It was recently said that CLE is more "advanced" than ACE. I don't know that I'd say CLE is more "advanced" than ACE. It moves at a faster pace but ACE is, to me, more in tune with child development. I don't want a newcomer (to ACE) thinking they're "downgrading" by going with ACE because that just isn't the case.

Take it from someone who has been with ACE for 5 years *on and off*. I emphasize that to say we've tried everything under the sun and yet we're returning to PACEs for a reason. ACE teaches the same stuff other programs teach, so I'd also advise *against* skipping ahead (what's the rush, anyway?) because soon, you'll hit a roadblock. ACE just goes slower and teaches things like we were all taught.

In other words, unlike the public schools, ACE hasn't lost sight of what Kindergarten MEANS, for example. The public schools want them doing what ACE has 2nd graders doing, which is just ridiculous. Kindergarten should be about FUN, coloring, exploring, songs, fun, fun, fun! ACE knows this and has created a fantastic Kindergarten program. No, it's not "rigorous" but should Kindergarten be that way? That's just one example.

Yes, by high school ACE is teaching the same things other programs are teaching and at the same time. The difference is that kids would've developed a much stronger foundation with ACE! Think of it like this: ACE goes a mile deep and an inch wide while other programs tend to go a mile wide and an inch deep....

So what does all of this mean? It means the ACE PACEs are far from "behind" as some people like to say. As someone who does a lot of research and who likes to look for trends, I've noticed trends in the ACE naysayers:

  • They attended an ACE school back in the 80s or 90s. ACE has definitely upgraded its program since then! 
  • If they homeschool, they only tried out a PACE or two for anywhere from a month to one year. ACE was not designed to be used like this. It wasn't designed for you to pop in and out of the program. Rather, they assume you'll stay with the program for all 12 (13 counting Kindy) years. This means that while they may not be teaching the same things in "3rd grade" that other programs teach, they DO get to it. Again, inch wide/mile deep... 
  • They are the type of homeschooler who gets wrapped up in labels like "gifted" (that's a blog post/soapbox of its own) or "advanced." ACE simply doesn't advertise itself like this. 
When you come across negative reviews of ACE, consider the source. Remember that you don't know their situation, their home life, how they're raising their children, the values they're instilling into their children, etc. If ACE lines up with your family's values and you like the PACEs, then use them. Do not be deterred by naysayers! Instead, find the people who are pro-ACE (we're on Yahoo and Facebook, by the way). Talk to those who LOVE ACE--not those who despise it! 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Science Curriculum 100% FREE for just a few more days!

If you've been looking for easy-to-do unit studies that grab your child's interest, then this is for you! 

Like unit studies? Like FREEBIES? Then check out what just hatched for you this Easter! 

From now until the end of March, grab ALL of The Curiosity Files at NO CHARGE! That's a $125 value (and these really are great!) for FREE! Here's the link: The Curiosity Files

Use the code at the link and start downloading!! 

Happy Easter! :) 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Flash mob or flash SALE?!?

If you follow me on Periscope, you'll notice that I just Scoped that I have this on sale for a very limited amount of time. This normally sells for $8 in my TPT store but for a VERY limited time, I have it at $3. If you landed on my website trying to figure out how to get this, here's the link: Printable Teacher's Binder WITH Sub Plans

Thanks! :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Year, New Goals, New Deals at Educents!

As homeschooling moms, the new year often means starting new programs and incorporating new things now that you're settled into a routine. I'm more of a Charlotte Mason homeschooler/borderline unschooler at heart, so the language arts and math we're using keeps things minimal, lessons are short, and everyone is happy. We have TIME to do the things we enjoy. And let's face it: life is learning. Learning opportunities are all around us; you just have to keep your eyes open to them. 

I can't help but get excited about educational games and learning, though. I'm a sucker for deals and things that enable me to teach my children in a more fun and relaxed way. That's why I'm excited about the new deals at Educents this year! From learning new languages to maintaining healthy habits and learning new computer skills, Educents has us covered! My son is very interested in both coding and Minecraft, so I think I'm going to take advantage of that deal. All of my children would love to learn a foreign language, so I will be checking out that deal as well! 

Easy Resolutions for your child's education
Wouldn’t it be great for your kids to learn to play a musical instrument, speak a new language, or pick up some computer skills? Educents has the tools to help your kiddos achieve GREATNESS in 2016!

Resolution #1: Learn a new language

Children learning a new language
Children learning a new language will spark interest in geography and culture!

Maybe you don't speak a second language, but your kids still can using this online language program. With this award-winning package, there's no need to memorize lists of words or listen to boring adult conversations. Kids learn by watching kids like them in real-life, humorous situations!

Spanish Course - Buy 1 Get 1 Free

Resolution #2: Create healthy habits

Practice yoga with your child inside or outside!
Practice yoga with your child inside or outside!
Yoga promotes healthy habits in a fun and active way. Pop in this Yoga DVD and reap benefits like balance, focus, flexibility, self-control, improved posture, and so many more healthy habits.

Yoga DVD is Fun for Kids and Parents

The Family Fitness program includes hundreds of physical education lessons for ages 5 to 18. The 1-year program includes warm ups, cool downs, outdoor exercises, and nutritional lessons. The lessons will guide you and your family through a 20-40 minute physical education session. You can do as much or little as you like depending on how much time you have.

Ready-to-go Fitness Lessons for your Entire Family

Resolution #3: Keep the house clean

Enough said.
Educents Blog
"I cannot imagine a more well spent $20! I am not even kidding--my house looks stellar and my kids have that feeling of accomplishment, knowing they've worked hard and done an amazing job. I've tried chore charts and reward systems but this is by far the easiest and the most all-encompassing." - Celena, The Traveling Sisterhood

$20 Cleaning System That Actually Works

Resolution #4: Be more creative

Kids gotta have time to be creative. With all the social stresses and studying, leave room for FUN. Whether it be learn a new skill, journaling, or start playing an instrument - encourage creativity!
Help your kiddo learn the basic skills of photography this year!
Help your kiddo learn the basic skills of photography this year!

Downloadble Photography Lessons for Kids

This has probably been included in ONE of your New Year's Resolution lists: Learn to play piano. Well, time to live vicariously through your children! Maybe your child will learn, and then turn around and teach you piano! This kit has everything you need to get started tickling those ivories.

The Piano Starter Pack can teach your child how to play!

Does your little one want to learn how to play a musical instrument this year?
Does your little one want to learn how to play a musical instrument this year?

Playing the violin is not only a way for children to be creative, but it also develops motor skills, sharpens memory, teaches perseverance and increases focus.

Violin Starter Kit has everything you need to get started.

Resolution #5: Get hands-on

Lessons are more fun when you get your hands a little dirty. Take reading lessons outside, do a weekly science experiment, or try these STEM kits that arrive to you once a month (totally ready to go!!).

STEM Project Boxes 3 Month Subscription

take science lessons outside
Take lessons outside with science experiments!
Add science fun to your weekend projects! These science experiments are delivered to your door and ready to go. Kids will learn about magnets, fungus, space, volcanos, and more!

Save 50% on Magic School Bus Science Kits

Resolution #6: Learn new tech skills

Your kids might already spend a lot of time in front of a screen, but is that screen time educational? Use those hours to learn new tech skills! If your kiddo is already a Minecrafter, consider using this program to build skills and add layers to the game!
Educents Blog (1)

Kids Ages 8+ Can Learn to Code Using Minecraft

What are your resolutions this year? Have your children set resolutions for themselves? Share in the comments!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Get Your Freebies ON! - starting every FRIDAY in 2016!

It's TIME! It's time for Get Your Freebies On and it's time to subscribe to the blog if you haven't you don't miss out on anything! 

I didn't get a chance to finish publishing this post before the new year, but here's a post I was writing around the holidays so you could prepare, subscribe, and remember to get YOUR freebies on!: 

After the new year, you can expect "Get Your Freebies On!" to start appearing every Friday! I plan to include resources in Language Arts and Math primarily, but you WILL see some things related to acting, musical theater or Science/History, too! You'll definitely see things related to the curriculum we use (which includes My Father's World, ABeka, Bob Jones, & Story of the World). You'll also see things relevant for both classroom teachers and homeschoolers since we both differentiate and can absolutely use things that make life easier on us educators whether at home or in the classroom! I also have some other things you'll see, but I'm not sharing just what those things are until I get them uploaded into my TpT store.

But believe me, if you're a classroom teacher, you WON'T want to miss it. A little birdy called "Periscope" has let me in on what many of you teachers are in desperate need of....and your wish is my command. Suffice it to say, you'll be thankful - especially if you...ohhhh....need substitute teachers now and then or have parents asking for extra work they can use at home! That's ALL I'm saying! :) :)

And believe me, my inbox is FLOOOO-DED with freebies; sometimes, it's just a matter of what I share on my blog! ;-)

Next up...

Most of you who know us know we're into musical theater as well as singing as soloists. For the past year (almost), the girls and I have been taking private vocal lessons (my son starts next week!). During our lessons, we get repertoire from a variety of categories that we're to work on for different reasons. We also need to keep up with auditions and such. To help us stay more organized, I made a "tracking sheet" several months ago. We slip the cover down into our notebook covers and keep the record sheet in a section of our notebooks near the beginning - conveniently tucked behind our practice reminder!

Vocal Record FREEBIE!
Click HERE to download this for free!

If you'd find this helpful, you can find it in my TPT store and download it for FREE!

Since it's late-morning on a  Tuesday and I need to start getting some My Father's World things ready, I need to run - but I wanted to take a second to share a quick freebie with you guys AND let you know about "Get Your Freebies On"!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Times Tales downloadable package - only $15.95!

Times Tales DOWNLOADABLE Version
Times Tales downloadable version - just $15.95!
You've heard about it, you've wanted it, and now's your chance to get it for just $15.95!  

Times Tales downloadable version, which includes 2 downloads of the actual videos and 3 more downloads of the worksheets, game cube, and answer key! 

Even though we own the book already, for $15.95, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to cast this onto the big screen we have in our classroom. If nothing else, I wanted the accompanying worksheets anyway - which include tests, crosswords, activity sheets, and the game cube - so I paid pretty much the same price as those alone for the WHOLE package deal!!  You really can't beat that! So if you're like me and have had your eyeballs on this, you have one week from today to grab this deal

Monday, January 4, 2016

Life of Fred ~ FREE PRIORITY SHIPPING **today only!**

TODAY ONLY: Free Priority Shipping on ALL Life of Fred books and products!
Use code: MARKDOWNMONDAY at checkout

*Free Shipping offer only valid for contiguous U.S.
Are your math students tired of the drill and kill math approach? Thousands have turned to the Life of Fred Math Books for a fun way to learn math.
Instead of dry exposition and endless drill exercises, these books are filled with the fun and page-turning tales of Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius born on the western slopes of the Siberian mountains. During his hilarious adventures, he encounters everyday math situations that call for solving mathematical problems. Children actually want to read these books!!
Shop Life of Fred Blowout Sale

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Favorite Homeschool Resources Picked by Homeschoolers

What are other homeschoolers raving about? Check out this blog post and find out what the top picks were at Educents (a site where you'll save a TON of money on curriculum and educational products!) this past year!   **Please note that any errors - typos or otherwise - are not those of my own.** 

Can you believe 2015 is OVER?!? In just one more day, 2015 will be another year gone by as 2016 pushes its way into our lives. I'm thankful to have survived 2015 not only physically but as it pertains to homeschooling and educating children in general. What about you? 

In our case, we spent most of 2015 unschooling or doing relaxed homeschooling, and it was FANTASTIC. We've been homeschooling for 12 years we've "been around the block," so to speak. I know what to expect when we start something, I know how long it takes us to get into a groove, I know the types of projects my kids love/hate, etc. 

We got a little more structured toward the end, but only because I saw a need for organization in one of my children and a need to focus on some specific topics. So, I whipped out a curriculum book (we use curriculum as resources - not as "be all, end all" tell-me-what-to-do books) and we got down to business. We spent about a month being organized and structured, and we were all just SPENT. Primarily, we live a life of learning that includes natural learning, child/interest-led learning, and relaxed homeschooling (we lean more toward Charlotte Mason, but we were doing a more traditional textbook style - which burnt us out).

In reflecting upon this past year, I'm amazed at two things:
1) Just how much children will learn if you just leave them alone and let them follow their interests, and 
2) How much children come to LOVE subjects that many children "hate" when they're not forced into learning about things that don't interest them at THAT moment (week/month/year).

As 2016 approaches, I plan to ditch the traditional textbook style we had going for 4-1/2 weeks and go back to what works for our family. ♥ ♥ We also have some other plans I'll have to wait to talk about (i.e. wait until they come into fruition before blogging about it). Nonetheless, with our relaxed style of homeschooling, one of the things I absolutely love, love, LOVE are educational toys and products. I get most of them at Educents because they can get AH-ma-ZING deals for us. As usual, I'll continue buying products from Educents

Over the past couple of years, some of the BEST products I've purchased through Educents have included the Magic School Bus Science kits, Wordly Wise, Life of Fred math, loads of books and countless other products (especially downloadable products - yes, they offer downloadable curriculum products, too! And for ). And if there is something you want, let the people at Educents know and they WILL get a good deal on it - trust me (how do you think I've managed to buy so many products from their site??)!

One of my absolute favorite products I've purchased from Educents has got to be the Life of Fred series of math books. You can download a free chapter at the publisher's website. OR, you can take the word of hundreds of thousands of other homeschoolers and trust that it's an amazing program. It's story-based, so there is review built into the stories. Rather than overloading kids with 35 math problems each day, there are only about 6-8 problems to do. But the next day, 2-3 of those problems will be a review of the problems from the day before. So, while review is built into the program, you could always download and print free math drill worksheets if you wanted more practice. 

               top picks homeschoolers

No matter what may be on your lesson plan for 2016, consider the resources below. Members within the Educents community put a list together of their favorite homeschool resources. If you'd like to learn more about the resource, just click the link! If you want to get more involved in the Educents community to learn more about homeschooling and the curriculum offered on Educents, join the Educents Facebook group!

Emily of Smith Squad recommends the Life of Fred books.

“As a child, I always hated math, even though I was good at it because it was so boring. When I heard about Fred, I knew he had to be a part of our homeschool. My kids absolutely LOVE when it’s math time, and they are learning a ton about how to apply math to everyday practical situations.”
Life of Fred Buyer's Guide

Lisa Marie of The Canadian Homeschooler uses the Writecraft and Mathcraft Units.

"The writing portion of this resource was the first time EVER that my oldest son ever willing wrote anything! He was excited to write instead of hating it."

Allison of Just Add Coffee loves the Magic School Bus Science Experiments.

“I absolutely love Magic School Bus and all it has to offer. Each month you get a different science kit to take a Magic School Bus adventure. If you search really hard, online you can even find curriculum to go with each science kit and the episode from the television series.” Magic School Bus on Educents

Lisa of Chickens and Bunnies Homeschool loves the Life of Fred Elementary Books.

“My favorite resource at Educents at the moment is Life of Fred. There are so many to choose from I picked the Elementary Series. My kids love these books; we have them up to high school now. My most recent order was Life of Fred Chemistry. My kids will do these without arguing and love Fred and Kingie!”

Celena of The Traveling Sisterhood recommends the Times Tales Multiplication videos.

"I love Times Tales because it's made this year's math lessons so much easier! My kiddos quickly mastered their multiplication tables in one sitting with the movie. It's been such a blessing--instead of drills every day, we can take more time to learn the actual concepts behind the facts!" Times Tales Review

Kelly of Raising Samuels loves the Magic School Bus Science Club.

“The Magic School Bus Science Club is something your child gets in the mail each month, for a year! It includes numerous experiments per month, along with most of the materials required. (except household items such as scissors and tape). It is an incredible hands-on learning experience that helps children love science and have fun! My sons who are 4 and 6 absolutely love it!”

Amy of Busy Boys Brigade recommends the Life of Fred Beginning Readers.

“Life of Fred Early Readers series has been a game changer in our homeschool! Both my 6 & 4-year-old boys beg me to do their reading lessons now that we have added Life of Fred. I have noticed an increase in their fluency and comprehension.” Fred Readers tips

Jenn of Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling also loves Times Tales.

"All three of my girls, ages 8 down to 4 loved watching this DVD and learning the stories. In 1 hour, both of my older girls had memorized their upper times tables! And the real kicker is I was only trying to teach one!"

Amy of Teaching in Blue Jeans uses Learn to Mod Minecraft with her son.

"Learn to Mod Minecraft is an amazing program that teaches my son, a Minecraft lover, important computer programming skills through a game he loves to play. The lessons are easy to use, fun and engaging. I love that he is a learning a skill that I am not able to teach him." Kids Learn to Code - Educents Graphic

Tabitha of Life Learning Homeschool uses the King Tut Mini Unit.

“My son loves history (he gets it from me), and I love to throw in “extras” to feed the need for more than what our curriculum calls for. Mini-units are great for that, and this was one of our favorites because we both love Ancient Egypt!”

Amy from Not Your Average Homeschool Mom loves Minecraft Mod Design.

“I love that you can be totally creative, and these are all hands-on. Helps to build critical
 thinking skills too.
YouthDigital Educents1

Kayla of The Arrowood Zoo loves using Magformers for lessons at home.

"I love that you can be totally creative and these are all hands-on. Helps to build critical thinking skills too."

Shelly of Free Homeschooling 101 recommends the Violin Starter Set.

"The violin starter set includes everything a budding violinist needs to begin their studies. The instrument is well made and economical. The lessons that are included are a huge money saver!"

Rebecca of Hip Homeschooling likes Magformers.

“We LOVE Magformers in our homeschool! They are a high-quality toy that provide hours of creative play. They are a great way to bring the fun back into your homeschool; your kids won’t even realize they are learning all about structures and geometric shapes and architecture (bonus!).”

Teri of Mommy Wife Life recommends the Spectacular Space Unit Study.

“A great resource for young astronomers is the Spectacular Space Unit Study. From writing, reading, math, and crafts, this complete unit, with its simple terms, will spark the interest of even your preschoolers!”Screen Shot 2015-12-26 at 2.09.22 PM

Jamie of Simple Homeschool loves Life of Fred too!

“I love the way the math is naturally integrated into Fred’s life, showing the importance of it in day-to-day life. The chapters are laugh-out-loud funny, and I often get asked to read “just one more.” I’ve never been a huge fan of math workbooks and worksheets, so the combination of math and story is a major win in my books!”

Gabriella, Homeschooling Consultant, recommends the Number Formation Poems.

“We have these cards laminated because we know they’ll be used for years to come. My son, who learns best through rhyme and tactile input, is learning to write digits using these easy-to-remember number formation poems! I have reduced the size of the cards, added a ring binder, and now have a portable number set. We also use the cards for matching games and learning about quantity. Such a great price for all of the value provided by this set.” Hands_on-learning-with-worksheets     What homeschool resource did you use this year that you would recommend? Leave your recommendation in the comments!!