Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review ~ IXL Math and Language Arts

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IXL.com is an online Math practice website for grades Pre-K through 12, but now they also offer Language Arts practice as well for grades 2-4. More grades will be added soon! Since the membership is online there is nothing to download, and the site can be used from anywhere with an internet connection.

Since it near the beginning of the school year IXL has offered us the perfect way to review math skills learned last year in math and also practice a few new ones. I required my 10, 9 and 7 year old to practice for at least 15 minutes each day, but they were welcome to practice longer if they wanted to. The kids can reach goals such as completing so many problems or practicing for a certain amount of time, then they get rewarded with special graphics on their progress board and also with printable certificates if they like that type of thing. All 3 kids were able to use the math section with no assistance from me, even my 2nd grader. She kind of shocked me with all she was able to do, she picks up so much just by being around when I teach the older kids something.

IXL math practice can be used as a supplement to any math program, good to know if not all of your children use the same math curriculum.

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Language Arts is a new addition to IXL, right now it is only available for 2nd through 4th grades, but that includes all 3 of my homeschooler's grades so it was perfect timing. My 2nd grader did fine with the activities if someone was available to help her read. She isnt quite fluent enough to fully understand what is being asked of her and then of course to read all the answers by herself. When we helped her though she did great, and wanted to keep going for a lot longer than I wanted to sit most days. My two 4th graders were able to use the Language Arts all by themselves without problems. My son told me he like the LA better than the math, and thats unusual for him.

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I have my own parent account that I can log into to see just what they have been doing, how long they did it,  and how well they did. There is a section that shows me the State Standards for my state, including Common Core. I can compare these to the level of mastery my kids have shown if I want to, but honestly I don't like doing that. It is nice knowing what is expected at each grade level though. I get emails when they have reached a goal, it makes the kids smile really big when I show them the email I got praising the efforts they have made!

In my state we are required at the end of the year to either have a certified teacher review a portfolio or have the kids take standard tests. We choose portfolio, and I can print out reports from IXL showing how my child has made progress during the year along with samples of their written work. This is a nice option that I am really going to use at portfolio time! I have never done standard testing with the kids, but I did as a kid. I can see how practice like IXL provides can help with testing scores. There is a timing feature that can be used or turned off, whichever you prefer. The times stresses my kids so I don't use it, but if I were preparing them for testing I would use that feature since the standard tests are timed.

What we liked about IXL...
*I liked the parent reports, it helped me see areas where each child needed some help and in which areas they were doing just fine.
*I like that it can be used anywhere, so if they have an impromptu sleepover they can get some practice in that day.
*I like that the kids didn't feel pressured to stay in one grade level, they can go to a younger grade and work their way up if needed, or skip ahead as well.
*I liked that except for helping my 2nd grader with Language Arts I did not need to be present as they practiced. This is a blessing on "those days" when nothing is going right and my attention is on other things for a while.
*The kids all said they enjoyed working by themselves and being able to choose what to work on each day.

What we did not like about IXL.....
*The kids were expecting it to be more "game like" but it is really more like bookwork minus the book. They don't enjoy writing on worksheets much so they did prefer IXL over paper.
*My son with a learning disability got frustrated easily by the score going down if he got an answer wrong. He likes to reach those goals, and when it takes too long to get there he just wants to quit. So we wish the points didn't go down, staying the same would be better.
*The State Standards and Common Core stuff is very unimportant to us, but to some it is very important. I want to stress to those using this with their children to NOT be discouraged if your child isn't doing everything on the grade level that they say the child should be doing. Don't be afraid to practice where they need it only, and let them work at their own pace so learning stays fun!

A subscription to IXL is $9.95 for math only, $9.95 for language arts only, or $15.95 a month for both. If you purchase a yearly subscription it is $79.00 for either math or language arts, and $129.00 a year for both subjects. Each additional child is only $2 per month, or $20 per year. - See more at: http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/ixl-review/#sthash.t76o1ld2.dpuf
A subscription to IXL is $9.95 for math only, $9.95 for language arts only, or $15.95 a month for both. If you purchase a yearly subscription it is $79.00 for either math or language arts, and $129.00 a year for both subjects. Each additional child is only $2 per month, or $20 per year. - See more at: http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/ixl-review/#sthash.D6v1Scj1.dpuf
A subscription to IXL costs $9.95 monthly ($79.00 yearly) for each subject, OR $15.95 a month ($129.00 yearly) for both Math and Language Arts.

These rates are for one child, additional children can be added for $2 each per month or $20.00 each per year.


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