Thursday, November 7, 2013

IXL Learning Review

IXL is an online math and language arts program that makes practicing assignments more fun.  Created for Preschool through 12th grade, IXL provides over 2,500 activities that allows kids to practice and master essential education skills.  

We were given the opportunity to try IXL Learning in our homeschool.  This is a program that I have been contemplating, but not sure how the kids would like it.  For the most part, the kids DO NOT like "practicing" skills.  Flashcards....yeah they are not fans.  Another worksheet.....yeah, they hate worksheets too.  So I have been trying to figure out how to get them to "master" skills they have been learning.

IXL Learning has been a great help in this area.  The kids are able to practice both Math and Language Arts skills.  And not just at whatever grade level someone else thinks they should be at.  Joey still struggles with basic math skills.  With the help of IXL Learning I have been able to go back to the "basics" with him.  He has been practicing online, and not feeling like he is using "flashcards".  He feels really great when he earns extra rewards for his efforts.  

Actually all the kids get really excited when they finish a lesson and they see they have earned a reward.  I honestly have not had them react to "virtual" rewards like this.  Normally the kids require some sort of a tangible item as a reward, a fun size candy bar or a sticker for example.  This was Joey's board from a couple weeks ago.  They have to check before they start practicing and then after also.  

Usually most practice sessions are really time-wise, what you put into them.  So if I want the kids to only practice one area, then they will practice that one area.  Timing so far on most elementary level skill practice area has been about 5 minutes to a maximum of 10 minutes.

Lydia sometimes takes a bit longer on the language arts areas since she is really learning these areas and reading is sometimes a slow point for her.  In the lower grade areas though, Language Arts and Math questions for several areas provided a button for the student to allow the questions to be read to them.

Typically for Joey and Lydia I used IXL Learning as a practice program for them.  This is exactly what IXL was created to do for students, allow them to master very important skills in Math and Language Arts.  So IXL was added to their normal schedules.  I would assign daily or every other day assignments in IXL for them to complete.

For Caty, I decided to use it as a base of what she should be learning in Math.  We went through several of the Preschool areas to see if she had those skills mastered.  And I am using the Kindergarten Skills List to help plan out her Math lessons.  We work on an area together and then we use IXL Learning as a practice area.

Each grade level offers a large amount of skills that students can practice with.

Math covers grade levels Preschool through 12th grade.

Language Arts covers Grades 2- 4.  This has been a great review area for the boys.

I really liked that if the kids earned a mastery in a skill or earned a reward, I received an email.  If they kids were having a frustrating day and needed some extra encouragement, I would print the certificates that IXL Learning sent to my email so the kids could hang them up on their wall.  Something so small has been a great encouragement to keep working hard.  

I also received a weekly report in my email from IXL letting me know what areas the kids worked in and whether they need more practice or they have mastered an area.

I was able to print these reports and include them in the kids assessment notebooks for when we meet with the assessors at the end of our school year.

We are really enjoying using IXL Learning in our homeschool.  There is no extra work for me to use this product.  Each week when I write up lesson plans, I simply select what lessons the kids should practice.  I make sure to have the kids practice their "skills" that correspond with their regular work.  The less extra work for me, the better.  I really like that the practice sessions are not full of cartoons and cartoon games.  I really hate when the kids get lost in a game and not really doing the work assigned.  

You can subscribe to IXL Learning for $9.99 per month or $79.00 per year.  That is for a family membership.  So IXL Learning is actually reasonably priced, considering many programs out there limit the amount of students or require a monthly subscription for each student in your family.  I know with 4 kids that can get awful expensive.  

Now that I have officially tried IXL Learning, I can see us continue using it in our Homeschool schedule.  It is easy to use, and a great confidence builder for our kids.  The kids enjoy earning their virtual awards.  We are going to keep using IXL Learning in our family.

Be sure to continue reading other Reviews of IXL Learning, many of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had the privilege of reviewing IXL Learning in their homes.  See how this program worked for them.


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