After the very lengthy process of diagnostic testing, me working through the parents training manual (which is a must if you are going to do this program – as well as really interesting and informative), sorting out and placing my first order – it finally arrived! This is always a very exciting day for me, and this time for my girls. They couldn’t wait to page through their PACES (workbooks), one of them even sneaking in a page or two before I realised what she was doing and put a stop to it! I really did appreciate her enthusiasm but this program does have a way of doing things and for a good reason. It is helping to train the child in goal setting and then achieving them. I’m not going to go into a review here at the moment – I plan on doing that later on in the year over at Curriculum Choice. The purpose of this post is to share with you some rather surprising insights on my side.
We are into year 7 of homeschooling our children. As I shared in my post ‘Changes Afoot‘, we were at a cross-roads. The girls are growing up and their educational needs changing, we were needing to decide on a way forward that filled mans requirements for college etc, but were not prepared to compromise on Spiritual training or on character building. A.C.E seemed to fit all of the requirements but certainly not my ideals.
As you know, we have been up to this point, a Charlotte Mason inspired, Unit Study, note booking nature loving kind of homeschool. A.C.E is completely not that. In my (rather opinionated) mind, I believed that my poor children were going to feel the effects of having to switch to such a different method of learning.
And here comes the part where I need to eat a huge slice of humble pie… my girls absolutely LOVE A.C.E!
They love that they get to plan out their own week, filling in their goals and then crossing them off. They love the workbook system – much better – they tell me – that what we did before! They love the content of the curriculum, they love the character sketches, they love the independence they have in their work. My eldest is even enjoying science now – something that we just could not seem to get a handle on no matter what resources I tried. They want to know why we did not do this before now!
I admit to feeling slightly put out over all this – but I realise that there was a season for‘my’homeschool. I am overjoyed to see my children’s enthusiasm and feel blessed that God led us to this new chapter in our story. He knows my children so much better than I do, yet He is gentle and loving in His dealings with me.
I do not wish that we had started A.C.E one minute before it’s God appointed time in our homeschool as we were, up to that point, enjoying another of God’s blessings and provisions. I am grateful that God has been gentle with me as He knows I do not cope well with change and struggle to let go of systems and things that feel quite nice and cosy for me. I am grateful and thrilled to see that God leads us on a safe, exciting, and varied path. Always watching over us, always showing us things that we did not realise about our children and ourselves.
Apart from all the benefits my children are touting. As a mother I am find the blessing of this curriculum in ways that I could not have even imagined. For a start, I have oodles of more time to potter about the home doing what moms do. The girls can pretty much get on with their work and my input is only needed when they do not understand something, or when I help prepare them for a ‘checkup’ (test on a section of work). Secondly, there has been a burden that has lifted off of my soul and shoulders that I was not even aware was there. I realise that all my intensive planning and teaching and reading and involvement was sending my down the road of burnout. I always thinking about ‘school’, always preparing, always looking and searching. I was always teacher and when I was mom I was ‘exhausted’ mom. I really did not feel like engaging my children outside of school most of the time. I was so SO tired. Now – I feel like I am mom first and facilitator (not teacher) second. It is wonderful! I am finding that I am really enjoying being just mom for most of the time. I am laughing more, smiling more, not so very tired any more.
I have spent my time quietly within reach of my children but reading God’s Word, faithfully spending time daily working on some awesome Bible Studies. As a result I am feeling the Holy Spirit fan into flame a passion for my Lord that has long felt stunted. This in turn is causing our morning devotional time together, before we start our PACES, to be really deep, exciting, and energising I was reminded this morning that we as moms really do set the tone of our home. If I am excited about God’s Word, about being His daughter and living my life for Him, the girls really do ‘catch’ my enthusiasm and mood. I am able to disciple my children better!
Honestly, I have to say that this has been the best switch ever. We are loving our new-look homeschool. We are loving our rekindled mother/daughter relationships and times. I am mom first – teacher/facilitator second. That’s just the way it should be :o)
Blessings in Christ All …