Answering the Critics

At Elmwood Baptist Academy, students are taught the same information in the same subjects that they would learn at other schools. Beginning in 5th grade, we use a non-traditional learning approach. The curriculum and program are through Accelerated Christian Education. The difference is that our students are required to master the concepts of each subject and each test before they are allowed to move forward in their learning. This approach produces far greater results in students, and the results are evident on our national achievement tests.

Many people ask us why we choose to use a program that is contrary to the traditional way of teaching. Here is our response.

  1. In the 1970’s: “It can’t be done!”

Dr. & Mrs. Donald R. Howard, the founders of A.C.E., were told by one publisher, “What you want – a full scope and sequence of twelve grades, and continuous progress curriculum in English, math, science, and social studies – why that will take twenty years to develop and cost $20 million.” The second edition of the A.C.E. curriculum was produced in nine months. In 1970, there were forty-five students on the A.C.E. program. By 1980, there were 200,000 students. Today, there are over one million students working in P.A.C.E.s every school day.

A.C.E. grew from one school in 1970, to eighty-seven schools in 1972, and to 2,500 schools in 1979. After four decades, there are 7,000 schools using the A.C.E. curriculum and program around the world in 145 countries. For example, there are 483 schools in the Philippines, 308 schools in South Africa, 58 schools in Western Europe, 105 in Central and South America, 242 schools in Canada, 184 schools in Mexico. There are schools in Cambodia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and even China! And, the list goes on.

  1. In the 1980’s: “Academics will suffer!”

A major Christian university did a study of incoming freshmen on the university’s placement test. They discovered that graduates of Christian schools scored higher than graduates of government schools, and that, on average, graduates of schools using A.C.E. scored higher than graduates of every other kind of Christian school. Over one thousand colleges and universities in the United States, as well as others internationally, have accepted graduates from schools using the A.C.E. curriculum. That list includes all the military service academies, Ivy League schools, and hundreds of Christian and Bible colleges.

Lighthouse Christian Academy (the distance learning academy serving home school families around the world) and Lighthouse Christian School (the local school owned and operated by A.C.E. on the property of the Executive Offices in Madison, TN) are accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and CITA (Commission on International and Trans-regional Accreditation).

  1. 1990’s: “It only works in small churches in America.”

Any Bible-believing church of any size anywhere in the world can have a Christian school that focuses on a Scriptural foundation, the placement of each student at their own level of ability, the incorporation of goal setting, motivation, and academic excellence. Granted, many schools using the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum and program are small. However, many of them are small by choice, limiting their enrollment for any number of reasons. That notwithstanding, many schools have grown quite large, simply adding learning center after learning center. In the United States, there are many schools with an enrollment of over one hundred students: in Zephyrhills, FL, Miami, Fl, and Crescent City, CA, for example. Globally, in Moscow, Russia, there is a school of 115 students. In Manila, in the Philippines, there is a school with an enrollment of 225. There are schools of over 300 students in Asuncion, Paraguay and Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Accelerated Christian Education will work in any size church in any country.

  1. 2000’s: “A.C.E. was ahead of its time.”

With a Biblical philosophy and a proven methodology, nearly four decades of continuous fine tuning, and an investment of nearly $100 million, A.C.E. has developed a curriculum that equips children to think well, act responsibly, and live wisely. PACEs are structured to include all three levels of the learning process: knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

The A.C.E. curriculum has been carefully written to introduce children to concrete and abstract reasoning skills at appropriate age and maturity levels. The PACEs are written with vocabulary that moves from simple to complex, from concrete to abstract, as students progress from first level through graduation. Before adolescence, children learn in curriculum that presents each new concept from a mastery viewpoint – line upon line, precept upon precept; focus is on the who, what, where, and when of information. This is the knowledge level of education.

Even though individualization had been a valid theory of education on the greater educational spectrum for some time, no one seemed to be able to implement it on a large scale. Therefore, A.C.E. became a trendsetter, proving not only the viability of the individualized philosophy but developed an entire system and methodology by which it could be implemented. Structured from the inside out on the genius of individualization, A.C.E. recognizes that all children are created by God as unique, one-of-a-kind individuals. It has tailored a curriculum to the uniqueness of each child, regardless of whether they are a fast, moderate, or slow learner, enabling them to master the content before moving on. Such mastery is the foundation upon which all future learning is built. A.C.E begins where a student understands and proceeds to where he succeeds, focusing not on how a teacher teaches, but how children learn.

After adolescence, students learn in PACES that expand to the abstract or cognitive level; focus is on the why and how. They are now at the understanding level of education. Junior and senior high students learn not only facts (knowledge) but also how those facts relate to culture, science, and history (understanding).

Perhaps the chief distinctive of the A.C.E. curriculum is its focus on wisdom, observable and Biblical character in action in the lives of students. Most curriculum publishers focus on knowledge (facts and information). Some publishers also include understanding (relationship of information). However, the A.C.E. curriculum is distinctive in its inclusion of wisdom as a deliberate aspect of the learning process.

This unique combination of academics and methodology, based on each child’s physiological development pattern and Bible principles, sets the A.C.E. curriculum apart from all other curricula on the market. It provides mastery learning, critical analysis, conceptualization, cognitive reasoning, and life from God’s perspective. Since individualization is the major premise upon which A.C.E. is built, the introduction of computer technology to the learning center was a very natural transition. The curriculum uses advanced computer technology to help ensure the finest education in today’s ever increasing technologically sophisticated culture.