Monica - I tell everyone I know about PACE - homeschoolers, non-homeschoolers, friends, family, non-Catholics, Catholics!! I think I stumbled upon it when I first started homeschooling with my first. I can't remember if it was mentioned in the Mother of Divine Grace materials or I heard about it elsewhere...
I greatly appreciate the different book recommendations at different reading levels. I was so excited when I discovered the PACE workbooks. We just completed the second grade one with my oldest. I figured I might as well order all the ages, because eventually, the younger ones will need the Kindergarten and 1st grade, and I plan to keep using them with my 3rd grader. Thank you for this amazing program! Thank you!
~ L.L., mom of 5, 5th year homeschooling
Thank you so much for the fast shipping! I am excited to start the program - it looks amazing! I love that it incorporates The Book of Virtues and The Moral Compass, two books I own but have never really known how to make better use of with my kids.
I saw the PACE manual on a you tube channel I follow (Jady A.). She showed a little peek inside the manual and I was so impressed I ordered it right away.
Thank you for creating such a beautiful curriculum for Catholic Character; there is just not a whole lot of Catholic curriculum out there like this, so I am very excited.
Blessings to you!
I love your program and I do tell people how wonderful it is. My boys and I have learned a lot and we all look forward to our PACE time in our day. It is so well-devised and on grade level. My boys love the suggested readings. My older son really didn’t enjoy reading fiction until he started reading the your suggested books. He has enjoyed so many of them. We so appreciate all the time and effort that you put into the curriculum.
Virtues are sadly needed today and I am so glad that my boys will learn and grow while using your work.
God bless you,
Thank you for the fast shipping! I am excited to begin! We have some of the recommended books to start with too!
I saw your program on YouTube. It was recommended by "Jady A." and also on "What Laura Likes", both Catholic Homeschool/mother type sites. They highly recommended it & showed some of the pages, how well it was laid out! Wonderful!
I will definitely check out your FB page!
"One of the things I like best about this study is how robust it is with ideas for all ages. I can see us using this as a spine for character education for years to come, all studying the same virtue over and over again but with different readings and levels of understanding. I'm looking forward to continuing our virutes studies next year."
~ OurHomeontheRange Blog
I'm a fan from many, many years ago when I used PACE with my oldest 3 …I really loved using it - still have posters that I made for each month with the virtue, Bible verses, quotes.
I especially love the book lists to help reinforce the virtue all month long… When I saw the workbooks, I thought that would be perfect for my rising 4th grader, and I don't have to worry about it slipping off our schedule since I'll be able to assign pages in her planner.
I hope you can get the word out about this program to the younger generation of homeschoolers. It really is wonderful!
~ Cindi F
"A fellow homeschooling friend and I recently purchased your P.A.C.E. book to assist us in planning a virtue club for our homeschooling group. First, I just wanted to let you know that your book was a godsend for us! We searched high and low for resources, and this truly fit the bill. You've done an excellent job tying in Catholic components (Mary, the saints, the Bible) with the Book of Virtues stories.
Thanks so much for giving Catholics a great resource to teach virtues, especially in a time where there are so many watered-down "character training" programs out there. We're enjoying our book very much."
~ Monica K.
We LOVE the workbooks...I especially love the book lists. I have had both boys reading some really good books concerning the topics (I have a 10 year old and a 7 year old). The boys love the simple lessons and there are some great topics that we discuss (especially beneficial for my 10 y.o.). I always recommend your product when I come across someone looking for a character program!
"Thank you for the time you gave me on the telephone the other day, explaining your program for virtue formation. As I mentioned, Laura Berquist highly recommended PACE
in "Teaching Tips and Techniques Across the Classical Curriculum." We look forward to implementing it in our household!
Thank you for your research in this area.
~ Julie H.
"I was asked to review the Program for Achieving Character Education for the Superintendant of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York.
Congratulations on your fine work. From a catachetical point of view, I am impressed with the consistent, reflective, illustrative use of Scripture. It seems to be an excellent, integrated liberal arts tool for elementary education.
~ Sister Marie P.
A REVIEW OF PACE
PACE: This Virtue Resource is Outstanding!
by William O’Leary
Have you looked at various virtue resources as an educator or a parent and found good things but wish you could find an all-in-one virtue/character education resource? Well Monica Speach, Author of Program for Achieving Character Education: For Catholic Schools and Homes has written an all-in-one resource. She believes the missing link to all the character education programs is faith. She says in her introduction: “Character Education based on the firm foundation of faith is the best – and only - way to teach virtuous behavior.”
What I’m most impressed with regarding this resource is the comprehensive nature of it and how valuable of a resource it will be for any school, religious education program or homeschool family to use.
In each chapter (which focuses on a particular virtue) it includes the following components:
1. Quotations regarding that virtue by the saints
2. A Definition of the Virtue
3. Stories by grade level Kindergarten – 6th Grade (the stories are recommended from William Bennett’s two books: Book of Virtues and The Moral Compass.
4. Bible Passages (Over 20 for each virtue)
5. Mary and the Saints – each chapter gives a prayer or meditation in this section and a list of saints who were faithful in this virtue and those who struggled, at periods in their life, with that virtue.
6. Book Recommendations – each grade level has about 6 to 10 book recommendations.
7. Discussion Topics – over 20 questions to engage students in the virtue.
8. Writing Assignments – over 20 suggestions on how to use/incorporate each virtue in a writing assignment which ranges from something that could be an english/handwriting assignment to a kind act of writing a card to someone.
9. Enrichment Activities – These activities are divided up into suggestions under the headings of 1) Music, 2) Art, 3) Nature, and 4) General Activities.
10. How to Practice This Virtue – Over 20 recommendations on how to practice the virtue.
This is truly a comprehensive virtues/character education program which provides everything all in one place. But, there is more! She has a workbook grades K-6th providing multiple assignments for each week (Monday – Friday).
For example, in the 4th Grade Workbook under the virtue of Self-Discipline it provides 4 weeks worth of assignments. Week One has Monday: Quotation and asks the student to read the 6th quote on page 2 of the PACE manual and copy it in the space below and then ask the student answer the following question: What do you think St. Francis de Sales means by “inner peace?” Write down a few thoughts about this. (Use complete sentences in your answers.) and on Tuesday it focuses on the Definition and asks the students to “Read the definition of “Self-discipline” on page 3 of your PACE manual in the spaces below, write down healthy habits that can help you be a disciplined person. (Example: exercise, study hard, etc.) Then write down habits that can be harmful to you in your efforts to be a disciplined person. The second part of Tuesday asks the students to read from a selection of 3 books and reflect upon it.
This resource is truly amazing and is a great way to help children grow in holiness, character and virtue. I highly recommend Monica Speach’s Character Education Program. For more information you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out this website:
www.catholicpace.com for more details and to order it.
Using PACE in Prison Ministry
Thank you for your inquiry into our use of PACE in our prison ministry.
Yes, we did integrate pieces of PACE into our reading and writing course, and it was well received. Some of the men even began using what they were learning about virtue to teach and train their children and prison Bible study companions.
I selected 10 virtues that paralleled the books that we read... These virtues were found or conspicuously absent (causing problems) in the books that we read -- The Adventures of Pinocchio, A Christmas Carol, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
I used your reading suggestions to comb through The Book of Virtues and The Moral Compass for short companion stories and poems that could be found on "out of copyright" public domain websites (Gutenberg) and compiled a virtue book for each man with a selection of poems and stories. I used the dictionary definition, and the men brought Bible references and suggestions as to how to implement each virtue within the prison walls. We focused on one virtue each month and read a companion story or poem. Believe it or not, the men were drawn to the poetry - maybe because it was short but spoke volumes, so I ended up also teaching about the elements of poetry (stanzas, rhyme, meter, tropes/schemes)as the need arose, so they became quite adept at talking about poetry in poetic terms.
We started each class with a 15-minute virtue study that was taught by one of my inmate instructors who were in training but already registered instructors with the Institute for Excellence in Writing, which proved an excellent opportunity for them to discover and practice the art of classroom management. These assistant instructors know their Bibles and chose the story/poem on which to focus. In one case one man took the poem "The House by the Side of the Road" (Friendship virtue) back to his cell and shared with his bunkie. Then his bunkie rewrote the poem as "The Cell by the front of the Row" to correspond to his own situation in prison. It was quite moving. In this way, the men learned classical stories and myths for the first time, and I was amazed as the discussion developed as the months passed.
At the end of the course, many of the men talked about how much the virtue discussions had influenced their lives and their relationships with others and the decisions that they were making. Additionally, I saw a deeper connection to the novels that we were reading as we talked about a character's virtue or lack of virtue or even compromised virtue as in the case of Dr. Jekyll. The assistant instructors now use their virtues stories in their sermons and Bible studies and the rest of the men minister within their cell blocks. Since our class teaches the art of story-telling, they combine what we have taught them with the classical stories, sometimes even turning the poems into stories.
The most contentious virtue was Loyalty, so it had to be carefully defined and redefined for prisoners. Many of the men are in prison because of misguided loyalty, and there is a different kind of loyalty code for criminals than for "normal" people, so that was a bit of a snake’s nest that we had to traverse, but I will keep it, because asking questions is the first step to thinking about and destroying established paradigms. Fortunately, Courage came before and Responsibility after, so we could go back to those.
Thank you for your foundational work with PACE. It has made a huge difference in the lives of these men.
~ Prison Ministry Coordinator