What’s the difference between A.C.E., Abeka, and Bob Jones homeschool curriculum?

By James Leonard

March 16, 2022

Whether you are completely new to homeschooling or you’re a seasoned homeschool parent, chances are high that you have been asked a sometimes daunting question, “Which Christian curriculum are you going to use?”

With A.C.E., Abeka Homeschool Curriculum, Bob Jones, and other materials surfacing all around you, it can be overwhelming to narrow it down and find a Christian curriculum that meets your student’s needs as well as your own. We’re here to guide you through some of the key differences between these curricula, and help you make a confident decision on which one to use moving forward.

First, let’s explore the “textbook” method of teaching found in Abeka and Bob Jones homeschool curriculum.

Both curricula place a heavy emphasis on the presentation of the material to the student, very much mirroring the style of education your child would receive if they were in a public school setting. With the textbook method, students are being exposed to several different homeschool resources as part of their overall learning experience. The benefit for parents is that you can incorporate many different books for a mix-and-match approach. It can be helpful for students to have material presented in varying ways, keeping them interested and engaged. A downside to this, though, is that the parents are the ones who end up doing a lot of research to determine which resources to use.  

With Abeka curriculum and Bob Jones curriculum, the parents are also required to read the materials ahead of time so that they can have some level of understanding before presenting the information to their children. Parents have to spend time figuring out a lesson plan specific for their child, deciding things like: how much time will be spent on one lesson, how many lessons must be completed each week, and finding any appropriate supplementary materials. On top of all of that, parents are also expected to figure out when to give their child quizzes and tests with Abeka and Bob Jones curriculum. 

If you have more than one child, you have to factor in that you are now expected to read materials, plan lessons, prepare quizzes and tests, and present everything, multiplied by the number of children you have! 

Whew! That’s a tall order! Are you feeling exhausted yet?! 

To boil it down, the major downside of the Abeka and Bob Jones curriculum is that oftentimes the parents are the ones that end up more exposed to the material than the children. Parents must be the ones to check-in with their children to ensure that they’re learning the materials. Depending on the involvement and awareness of the parents, some children may not ever get to a point where they truly master a subject. The textbook approach to homeschooling places higher pressure on the parents, as they are the ones expected to compile resources, master the subject area, lesson plan, and teach. 

So how do you find a curriculum that meets the needs of both you and your child?

Why not take a look at A.C.E. curriculum?

A.C.E. is a Christian homeschool curriculum that is considered a “worktext.” This differs from the classic textbook approach of Abeka and Bob Jones curriculum. 

The Teaching Home, a homeschool newsletter, explains a worktext as a curriculum that “contains lessons, questions, projects, and exercises in each consumable workbook, based on the principle of mastery learning.”

Here at BCE, we utilize A.C.E. curriculum as part of our homeschool program. We want to walk alongside you (and your student(s)!) in your homeschooling journey as a resource and support team as you explore the new approach of a “worktext.” There are lots of benefits to using A.C.E. so let’s walk through some of those now…

With the ACE homeschool curriculum your child can begin a self-instructional learning process. The materials have all of the information your children need to teach the subjects to themselves! Because of this self-guided approach, the time a parent needs to spend preparing for their child’s homeschooling is lessened significantly. This allows you the flexibility to work, while still being involved in your child’s education.

A.C.E. also offers a customized approach to learning. Unlike Abeka curriculum or Bob Jones curriculum, A.C.E. is geared toward each child individually, so there’s no need for you to spend hours of your precious time finding materials that are appropriate for your child’s performance level in each subject.

Through A.C.E.’s unique approach, kids are being exposed to the material multiple times and are able to master it, rather than learning it once and moving on. If your child is really struggling with a concept, it will become apparent very quickly since each lesson builds upon the previous ones. You’ll be able to address your child’s struggles head on and help them build a solid foundation for learning.

One of the best advantages ACE curriculum offers (aside from how much time it will save you!) is that it pushes kids to be self-starters. With the added responsibility A.C.E. adds to your child’s life, they will develop into critical thinkers who are able to solve issues well beyond their school years.

I am a homeschooling dad myself, and my children have always used A.C.E. curriculum. I’ve been so impressed with A.C.E. that I make sure to tell other homeschooling parents about it whenever I get a chance!

One homeschooling mom I know had been feeling the heat of burnout. She was trying to piece together a Christ-centered curriculum with various textbooks and resources. Even though she believed homeschooling was what she wanted for her children, she was on the verge of giving up because she couldn't keep up with the endless lesson plans. After looking over the A.C.E. materials I’ve been using, she said "everything I've been trying to do with my eclectic material is baked into the A.C.E. material!" She ended up switching her family to A.C.E. and is now able to enthusiastically continue homeschooling with her children.

Keep exploring ACE and other resources Basic Christian Education offers… get our free catalog today!

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