Hello:) I really appreciate all the things you blog about and the products you offer they have helped me tremendously. I have a quick question about homeschooling. My oldest went to a Christian school until 6th grade and then we homeschooled. I used a "boxed" style curriculum and stayed with the more traditional school pattern because it was all I knew. He has graduated this year and he has done very well. We have 7 children, 2 with special needs, still in diapers, gtube fed etc....including 2 twin boys 2 years old:) It's crazy and chaotic and I am having so much trouble finding balance. I have a 5th grader and 1st grader in the midst. My 5th grader uses A.C.E. for all subjects except Math but I wanted to know if you still recommended A.C.E. and do you recommend it long term or on more of a burn out, crazy season time frame. She seems to really understand what she is learning but after reading this piece and from just experience with using this for the last 2 years I'm worried that rote memorization with A.C.E. may not be enough. I know you wrote a blog on 12 reasons to pick it so I just want to know if you feel it is sound enough to carry them through high school or if it should be supplemented. My 1st grader is really behind and I'm embarrassed but life has been a roller coaster with surgeries and hospitalizations.....not to mention keeping up with the little ones. I just recently started her on online videos and when she has reading down pat I would like to transition her to A.C.E also but I really would like your advice. Thank you again!!!
Renee answered:Parents can teach a child using any curriculum, if the parents have infinite time to spend on it—which most parents don't have—and so huge numbers of days go by where there is no schooling going on, if the curriculum a family chose is parent-dependent. That is why we like using ACE. for the whole 12 years. It is tried and true, and the children get fully educated—mostly by their own work, not yours.
I immensely dislike online programs and videos for children. The electro-magnetic frequencies (EMFs) coming off from computers might be very harmful when taken in too much dosage. All people will be spending too much time on the computer for their entire adult lives, so to add childhood years to that is a real problem. EMF damage is even more dangerous for developing brains—i.e., young brains. We know a man who died recently from a brain tumor from using his cell phone too much; his last message was a warning about that. We tell parents to keep their children off from computers as much as possible — especially for schooling. Even our Zoom-Type program is learned in a book—and eventually on a real keyboard with the computer turned off. One can even cut a keyboard off from a thrift store computer so children can get the feel of a real keyboard while they are learning the 250 most frequently used words at the end of the program—unplugged from any possible EMFs.
Yes, we recommend ACE at least through junior high. Their seventh grade English program can't be beat for conquering grammar. As the years progress, it teaches children how to write essays superbly.
Yes, put your first grader into ACE, because it teaches a child to read even in the core subject areas by retaining the vowel markings for quite a while as an extra aid.
A good education does involve lots of memorization. We never regain the time again to memorize important foundational principles, as adults. You do it in childhood or it doesn't get done.
That being said, if the child is crying, balking, angry with their subjects, can't understand principles, then you could look at other programs—but with any program, when that is the case, mostly what they need is a tutor to come in—an older high schooler or college student to sit with them through all of their subjects to answer questions AS they work. When there isn't enough parental time right next to the child during academics the child can begin to flounder and when you have a house full of children like you do, you need to enlist some help—from a sister, aunt, grandparent, godly neighbor, friend, etc. You probably need to get a team of people coming in to help with the housecleaning and the academics any way you can. Ask for volunteers at your church. Ask family members and friends if they know of someone who could come help for free. There are scores of people who could help and who need the meaning in their lives. Pray for them, and hunt for them.
You must be able to see the help that you get; vet them for godliness before you ever let them in your house and even then have them on your turf at all times—with open doors, within your sight line—even your maintenance help. You, as the parent, rove around constantly like the Holy Spirit; be everywhere at once. Even for private music lessons, I recommend that the parent stay with the child. Too much abuse of children these days. We have to be wise as serpents, as scripture says.
Principles re: attaining outside help
Try to get the help for the maintenance part of life first, rather than the academics. The academics is where you bond with the soul of your child, and you don't want to give that up, if you don't have to. Anyone can do the maintenance for you. Do as much of the academics as you can—i.e. just sit with them while you peel potatoes, etc., but then what you cannot do, go ahead and get academic help for that, too. Academics are not difficult at these ages. You, or a tutor, just stay one page ahead of them in every subject.
With that many children and your particular dynamics and complications, you need extra help—get it! Investment in children is needed infinitely.
The problem with searching for new curriculum is that it is quicksand, distracting the mother from the actual job of teaching. It becomes an endless distraction. I have seen parents look for new and better curriculum year after year and then their children are grown and gone and the issue still isn't settled. Remember, children can learn from anything, even just an encyclopedia set. (Some children got educated that way in one-room school houses while the teacher was endlessly preoccupied with other children.)
Make sure there is good reading time every evening in real life books, godly missionary biographies, history books, learning how to books for skills, etc. Make your children bibliomaniacs.
My dominant point is for you to get help. And simplify your own head by stopping looking for other curriculum. Just make good books available in the evening; ask other homeschoolers if you could borrow their recreational books that are hand-picked. So many of the public library books these days are useless, garbage, indoctrination manuals. Train your children first and foremost in the Lord. Get easy Bible story books and get them reading them cover to cover.
You are doing super as a mom. You have a tall job there—but you have an even taller God. He loves your heart.
With you in the trenches.