{Crew Review} IXL

Once again, I was offered the opportunity to use and review an online product. This one covers the basics of all learning: math and grammar.

What It Is:

IXL, an online learning program, has two sections that they shared with me: IXL Math and IXL Language Arts. 

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 IXL Math:

This online math program covers all math skills from Pre-K through eighth grade. Plus there are higher levels as well....Algebra 1 and 2, geometry, and pre-calculus.

The website is very easy to navigate; you can see at a glance what each level offers. And if you hover over one of the skills, a sample question comes up, so that you know exactly what to expect.

When you begin to do a set of problems, on the right side there is a clock, giving the time elapsed. The number of problems attempted is listed, plus your SmartScore. This score begins at 0 and goes all the way up to 100 as the questions are answered. If you answer some of the problems incorrectly, it does add to the number of questions that you are asked and your SmartScore goes down by a few points. The skill is not considered mastered until your SmartScore reaches 100.

 The math skills are listed by topic; your child does not have to complete one skill to move on to another; this makes it easy to use as a supplemental math program. IXL is not meant to teach your children math, but if they do get a question wrong, the solution is explained in detail.

At the top of your child's home page are different tabs:

They can click on Reports, which show how long they practiced, on which days, and how many questions they answered.

The Awards tab shows the awards they have received. These are earned in a variety of ways, such as mastering a certain number of skills in a category, getting a certain number of problems right, or practicing for a set amount of time.

IXL Language Arts:

Language Arts have grade levels for 2-8th grade. These include parts of speech, word analysis, vocabulary, reference skills, and much more.

The format is exactly the same, and when you begin a skill set, there is a clock counting on the right side. The SmartScore is listed with the number of problems as well. As with the math section, your child can move around from skill to skill.

You also have the same identical tabs at the top to see your Awards and Reports.

What You Get:

This online program is available as an annual subscription. One child for math is $79; for both math and language arts it is $129. They also have a special deal if you have two children that would benefit from this program; for two children it is $99 for math, and $149 a year for both math and language arts. Each additional child would be $2 a month or $20 a year.

You can also purchase a family subscription which is perfect for homeschoolers. 

As the parent you will also get a parent account. Here, you can see the same reports that are on your student's account. You can see their performance by skill, trouble spots, progress, and usage. You can even see a report card of sorts, that shows their cumulative score on all the skills they have worked on.

How We Used This:

I had both Dasher and Nutsy do this program. In the beginning I was going to have Nutsy doing Language Arts and Dasher doing math, but they both wanted to try out the entire program so they went between the subjects.

Nutsy was in the third grade math. Some of the topics are Numbers and Comparing, Mixed Operations, Geometry, Understanding Fractions, and Logical Reasoning to name a few. All together there are 24 topics with 277 skills total! That is a lot of skills to choose from.

Since I went into this knowing that it was not a course that would teach my kids, I told them right from the start that I would be choosing the skills that they would complete. For her, we started with some of the areas where she does need some extra help, like graphing, money, number sentences, and mixed operations. I had her put the timer on for 20 minutes each day that I wanted her to do IXL, which worked out to at least three days a week.

She liked the way that the questions were asked; sometimes there were colorful items and things that pertained to the problem. She isn't the best reader so she did have a harder time with some of the wording of the questions, so I stuck near her to help her out when she came across words she didn't know.

For the Language Arts section I had her do skills also in third grade. In that grade there are 116 skills that pertain to parts of speech, synonyms and antonyms, prefixes and suffixes, and Greek and Latin roots.

I was excited to have Dasher use this; she struggles in school and likes using different forms of media to learn. She does really struggle with math and so instead of going by grade, we looked at it topically. IXL makes this easy; at the top of the screen you can choose to view the skills by grade or by topic.

I had Dasher work a lot on the multiplication problems. One of the skills we really worked on were multiplication word problems. She is an extremely visual learner, so having a problem like this:

Clay bought 2 bunches of carrots. There were 8 carrots in a bunch. How many did he buy?

was very tangible for her.

In the Language Arts section I had her working in the 5th and 6th grade levels. I was impressed with the depth of exercises; for example she had to choose between adverbs and adjectives, recognize subordination conjunctions, and determine the meaning of idioms. These were all excellent things for her to practice. She does struggle with the skill being timed; I know this pressures her too much so we would just tape a paper over the side of the screen. But then she wasn't able to see how close she was to completing the skill set; I do wish there was an option to hide the timer.

What We Thought:

I really liked this and used it in conjunction with our current math program. Doing it three days a week was an excellent pace; I would see what they had missed in their daily math, and then give them skills to do in IXL Math. I wish as the parent I could have assigned them work, but I just wrote down a list of the skills I wanted them to do.

We also continued on with our language arts curriculum and used this to add to that subject. The girls especially loved earning awards and seeing their page fill up with the different ones. As the parent I also appreciated how easy it was to get on and see how much work they had done. I do wish as I said above, that I could have actually assigned work for the girls, since they can pretty much go into any grade level and practice skills. But there were a few days when, after their 20 minutes were up, that they explored around, and found other skills to do.

I would recommend this as a great way to review math and language arts. The format is simple and easy to use, and the questions and skill sets are very age appropriate.

Other members of The Crew reviewed this great product; check out what they thought by clicking below.

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