2. Naturally, being that I loved doing Paces, I am most comfortable teaching with Paces. I taught using A Beka for a year, and I did not like it at all. There was so much prep work, it felt like if I didn't utilize every single thing in the teacher's manual, my son would be missing something important. There was so much info there, I couldn't tell what would be fine to skip and what was imperative to teach. The year that he learned from the A Beka curriculum, he got in trouble every. single. day. He was so bored with everything, but I couldn't go faster because of all the prep work involved!
3. With Paces, the student can go at his own pace--hence the name? If the student is not self-motivated, Paces probably aren't the best choice. Otherwise, if there is a concept that the student just can't seem to understand, he can do two pages a day, spending twenty minutes figuring it out. If there is something that the student caught on to right away, he can do the six pages of it all in one day. The dangerous part about it is when the student only wants to do two pages in each subject every day, but as the teacher, you get to write down his "goals" every day--for the next day--so when he's sitting there staring at today's goals, they are already all written out, and there's no changing them! Deciding how many pages for him to do each day is literally the only preparation I have to do.
4. My mom preferred Paces. Yes, I let her bias influence me. When she taught us with A Beka, I remember her saying that there was so much reading and hardly any questions. Also, there were ten pages of reading and then the questions, meaning we spent half the time answering the questions flipping through all the pages trying to find the answer! (I remember this problem with Bob Jones, also.) With Paces, there is one or two pages of reading, then a page of questions.
5. Paces are divided up into twelve smaller books. After completing each book, the student takes a test. If they don't get a certain grade, they have to take the test over again, and if they fail again, they have to redo the entire book. I know when you homeschool, you can impose that rule on yourself no matter what curriculum you use, but ACE had the foresight to implement it as a rule. Don't learn the info? Don't move on.
6. Another benefit to having smaller books is that after two or three weeks, the student gets to put the book away because he is completely finished with it. He gets a brand new book to learn more exciting things. I remember with A Beka and Bob Jones, when we would start a new chapter, it was like, "Is this book ever going to be finished? How many more chapters are in this thing anyway!?" It always produced a dread, like, all that work we just went through to take the last test, we have to do it all over again. With Paces, the new Pace represents a brand new beginning.
7. ACE is my favorite curriculum because of the strong biblical teaching. In every subject, the student learns a verse and a character trait. There are seven main subjects in third through twelfth grade, so basically every two to three weeks, the student has learned 7 verses. ACE also encourages block memorization of a passage of Scripture, to be recited by memory at the end of each month. Their guideline for learning a number of verses is the grade level plus four: a third grader would learn seven verses every month--in addition to the seven in his Paces. Each Pace also teaches a character trait, and there are little cartoons that depict children either showing mercy or needing mercy, or whatever the trait is. I am often at a loss as to how to teach my son to be resourceful, but the Pace defines it, has a verse to go with it, and shows it being played out in children's lives.
I realize that not everyone will feel comfortable with Paces. They might like lots of charts and hands-on activities. But for me, that's part of the beauty of homeschooling--I can incorporate hands-on activities if there's time or money for them, but I don't feel the pressure to because they are "part of today's lesson". My son loves to read, so we have a lot of books, on multiple reading levels, on multiple subjects. If the only learning he did was in his Paces, I would probably, no I would definitely search out a different curriculum, because the information in the Paces (at the level he's at right now) is so easy. Maybe that's one reason I like it. What he gets graded on shouldn't be a huge struggle every day. I know that by the time he graduates high school, he will have learned the equivalent of any other curriculum, so I am not worried that his Paces are easy right now. He reads enough from other books to more than make up for any lack he might be experiencing in his Paces.
8. I looked at catalogs for others--I have Sonlight and My Father's World sitting on my kitchen table right now. I am not saying either of these, or the two I mentioned quite a bit earlier, are bad. I have some friends who use them. They are just not for me. Plus, Paces are cheaper than most other curricula, and I realize price alone is not a good reason to prefer one over another. For me, though, it's a definite benefit!
If you want to look at their website, it is aceministries.com. For browsing the store and adding items to your cart, you have to use internet explorer. For everything else, Firefox/Safari/etc. works, or a minimum of IE 9. They have hotel conventions every so often, where they have all the Paces and extra stuff out that you can look through. If you order there, you get free shipping. (CBD's Paces are a couple dollars cheaper, though, and I got free shipping [and no tax!] on my order over $100.) If you don't know what you need, I recommend going to a hotel convention first.
I made my own star chart and goal cards. We bought the stars from ACE and this August when they have their hotel meeting in Atlanta, I'm going to get the Pace organizer. They also have little flags the student uses to ask permission for things, and privileges the student can earn, but with homeschooling one kid, I think these are unnecessary for us. Whatever floats your boat, though.