What it is:
IXL Math is a comprehensive online resource. And as a homeschooling mom, I know I love those! The levels offered are from Pre-K all the way through algebra, with trigonometry, geometry and other advanced topics coming soon. For each of the grade levels there are skills to work on in a Practice section. In the Seventh grade level there are 248 skills to master. Some of these are:
Least common multiple
Compare and convert metric units
Area and perimeter: word problems
solve one step linear equations
...and 242 more.
If you hover the mouse over any of these skills, a sample problem comes up so you can see exactly what is reviewed in that section. When your child begins to work on a skill, problems come up one by one on the screen. If they get the answer right a box comes up that says Correct! If they answer incorrectly a box appears that says Sorry, incorrect answer. The correct answer is_______. At that point the student can either click OK, or Explanation. When explanation is chosen a simple description is displayed, along with any charts or graphics that might be helpful.
As your child progresses through the questions, a score is kept in a sidebar. Beginning with zero, this number increases each time they get a question correct until it reaches 100. If they get an answer wrong they lose points on their score. Once they reach 100, the skill is complete and considered mastered. They get a medal, which goes onto their Awards page. There is also a clock in the sidebar, showing the time elapsed since beginning the skill. A child can stop while in the middle of a skill; the program conveniently keeps track of where they left off and displays that next to the skill title on the Practice page.
The Awards page is a place where your child can see what awards they have collected and view what other awards they can earn.
Some of these are practicing for 1 hour, mastering a certain number of skills in a category, or doing a certain number of problems. It also gives a running display, showing how close they are to receiving their next reward.
Another section on the site is Reports. Here you and your child can see what problems were attempted, the skills practiced, and the time spent learning. There is a bar graph showing how long they practiced each week, and a pie chart showing what skills they spent time on. At the bottom another chart shows each skill worked on, how many problems were attempted, and the score they received.
The State Standard tab shows the math standard in the state where you live. (When you set up your profile, it asks what state you live in.) You can see and print a report that shows how your child, based on their current performance, stands in comparison.
What You Get:
Membership with IXL is very easy to set up. The monthly plan per child is $9.95; a yearly plan is $79. Each additional child is $2 a month, or $20 a year.
This includes access to the entire site, weekly emailed reports that point out successes or trouble spots, and awards and certificates to print. Each child also has a profile they set up with a fun avatar to identify themselves with. Go here to start your membership.
How We Used This:
Three of my children used this resource; primarily doing seventh, third, and first grade math. For the older two I had them set the timer and work for a certain amount each day. The youngest one is not yet a proficient reader so I appreciated that next to the questions and answers was a little icon she could click on to hear the information read to her. We quickly found that getting the awards was what was fun; the awards are cute little icons that they collect on a graph. You can also print out certificates to give your child.
In the first week I let my older child pick and choose what skills to do; but in the second week I began to require work from certain areas. They all found it a challenging, yet fun way to learn math.
What I thought:
This was a super good find. I loved it that the graphics were fun, but not distracting.
The realistic looking pictures were especially appealing to our youngest learner. The clock ticking away was helpful for one child but frustrating to another, so we used a post-it note to cover it up. The skills offered were very comprehensive and grade appropriate. After the first couple of weeks I happily saw improvements in their math facts, and no one was complaining when I told them it was time to get on the computer for math practice. I liked the weekly reports that were sent to my email; plus I could get on anytime as a Parent and see their progress. I did find that the "time spent" clock kept ticking even if questions were not being answered; this could be a sneaky way for some children to say they were doing math but were really not. But of course the parent would see the skills mastered and the percentage correct and figure out that the student was not improving. As I used this website, the one thing I had to keep reminding myself was that this program is not meant to be a full-time math curriculum; it is only meant to supplement another math program. That is probably the only complaint I have! With the format and skills offered, I would have loved this to have been a full curriculum.
So I do plan to continue to use this; when one of my children is having a problem in math with a certain concept, I can utilize this website and give them another way to learn the skill. And now it is on our list of free-time computer websites, and at least one of my kids has said they will go there and work on skills on their own.
Other Crew members reviewed this product; check out the list of them and see what you think.
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a subscription to IXL math, at no cost to me, for my honest and humble review. All opinions are mine.