Tuesday, November 5, 2013

TOS Review: IXL

Being sick while you are homeschooling is TOUGH!  Because of this, I was really happy to get a chance to review IXL.com.  Having an online resource to assist in teaching my children over the last couple months has been a God-send.  You may have heard of IXL before, in fact we have reviewed IXL in the past.  That's how I knew I wanted to try it again!

IXL offers a unique program that has drills in math and now language arts, too!  In Math, it starts with Pre-K and goes all the way up to Algebra 2.  They plan to add Pre-Calculus soon.  In the Kindergarten area alone, there are over 120 skills to be practiced.

Here is a screen shot of what you see when you are working on a kindergarten math problem.  This is under my parent profile.

The problem reads 'How many dots are there?'  If your child can't read, they can click the green button next to the question and it will read it to them.  They put their answer in the box and then hit submit.  

On the right hand side you can see problems attempted, amount of time they have been practicing for, and then their average score of correct answers compared with the number they tried.  

Here is a look at the awards screen.  You can see that Mini Cooper has won 3 medals, answered 50 questions, practiced for 19 minutes, mastered 3 skills and earned 3 prizes.  She needs to practice 11 minutes, 50 questions, and 2 skills to get another prize.  Her prizes so far have been a book, car, and slide.

Here is a look at the skill page for Mustang.  The ones that have green bars next to them are ones she has tried.  Ones with medals are ones she has mastered.  If you could scroll down the page, you would see that there are many more skills she has been practicing.

The .1 of each skill is the easiest, so I asked her to go through all the .1's and then go on to the .2's.

For the parent, there are many nice reports to view how your student is progressing through the program.  You can look at their individual profiles, but it is nice to see them in a report-this is just one of 4 views you can see.  You can also allow for emails so that you are updated right away when your child hits an achievement.

Brand new this year are language arts lessons.  I was a little hesitant to have Mustang try them, but she did much better then I thought.  We still have a lot to learn!  Language arts lessons are available for 2-4th grades, with more to be added in the future.

So what did we think of IXL?

Overall we really enjoyed it-and are continuing to.  It has been very nice to have the kids spend 30 minutes or so every couple days practicing without my help (extra nice when you are feeling awful!).  And, they seem to enjoy this work as it's a bit different from the other options that they have.

Mini Cooper really didn't like it at all.  She didn't enjoy having to press the button to hear her question, and it just wasn't fast paced enough to keep her attention, so while it has pre-K skills, I wouldn't recommend it for the little ones.  Charger is 5 and does very well with it-but he CAN read the questions.  It might be different if he could not.  Mustang and Charger are the ones who have really used the program since they both enjoyed it.

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that this is not a learning web-page.  What I mean by that is, that while there are excellent little tutorials if you get a question incorrect, this page is to quiz your child on what they already know. So, I can't use this to teach my kids instead of teaching them myself.  I can only use this to be sure they are understanding, practicing, and mastering their skills.

The price is very affordable!  It starts at just $9.95/month with just $2.00 for each additional child (homeschool family pricing).  They also offer yearly pricing of just $79/year ($20 each additional child).

Overall, we loved it.  But, be sure to check out the crew blog to see what other families thought of IXL.com, too.  Just checkout the crew blog.

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