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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

IXL - Review

Christmas Book Review

Practice, Practice ,Practice... Sometimes with certain topics all the child needs is a bit more practice. My daughter who has dyslexia would often need to see a concept more than one way. It would be that 130th time that I showed her that she would have it and retain it.  She was my first at home child and I soon learned that practice was sometimes all we needed to succeed. IXL will give your child all the practice they need. I love this quote off the IXL website..."Practice is like Play. " A perfect why to explain IXL.

IXL for one student is $9.95/month for one subject, or $15.95/month for both math and language arts. Additional students is only an extra $2 per month.

An annual subscription is $79. for one subject or $129 for both math and language arts. Each additional student is only $20 per year.

IXL gifted the crew a one year Membership for up to 5 students. That included IXL Math and IXL Language Arts.  Math covers topics from Prek-to 8th and then includes Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2 and Pre Calculus. Language Arts runs from 2nd -8th grade.

I started out using it with my Pre-K student and my 3rd grader but later had my 8th grader do a few things in it as well.  Parents have their own log in so that they can keep track of students usage, progress and achievement. IXL will compare your child's scores to state standards and is Common Core Aligned. Here in the parent account it will calculate the data you need for your child to excel. There is an easy to use tool bar that shows you all of your child's content and what they might need to practice more.

When you open your IXl you will choose which level you would like to work in. There is a list of skills under each grade level for math and for Language arts. You can pick and choose which skill you would like to work on or you can have your child work in order through the program.  Once your child is ready or finds the topic they need. They simply click that link and begin working. Remember this is a program meant to be used in addition to your regular curriculum. It is a wonderful way to supplement what you are using and get in that extra practice as it is needed.

When I received the program I began using it with my preschooler. In the mornings I have her preschool day set up in blocks. So that in the morning she works on a little bit of math skills and in the evening language arts skills. There are no language arts skills in IXL for Preschool. Our language arts time at this level is reading stories and working on our ABC recognition.  In the math program she was able to practice shapes, numbers to 3, 5 and then 20. Classifying, comparing, position and money just to name some of them. My girl knows her shapes well but has been struggling with reversing 3 and 5. This worked well in trying to solidify what I was trying to show her. This must be a typical problem because there is a specific 3 and 5 section. Your child will count and then they can practice the number recognition.  We are still working on it but I really saw improvement with the practices.

My 3rd grade son utilized the program practicing his multiplication facts. Math was the area he needed the most practice.  There are many topics in the 3rd grade math such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, time lapse, measurement , graphs, decimals, statistics, and more. As I mentioned above we have been working on our multiplication facts. There is an introduction to math facts and then a skill building section. Each fact is represented so you can practice 2's, or 9s or whatever you want to practice. You can even practice them all together. What I was surprised about when beginning our introduction to multiplication is that is aligned perfectly with our current math curriculum. We were able to practice any of the sections from his math book. I really like to give the kids as many different ways of learning as I can. This provided a visual that I could not have provided in the way it's resented. Kids at this age love playing on the computer so it felt more like play than study. If my son was correct it told him immediately and if it was incorrect it showed him why.

Later I had my 8th grader join in. I didn't think he would be able to use the program at first but he could. In fact all my older students would benefit from this practice. I honestly wish I had loaded all the kids. I only added my younger two but allowed my 8th grader to try a little under his sister so we could explore the language arts program.

You see in 8th grade our big nemesis is grammar. I have never been that great a grammar and so I am not very good at teaching it. I have to learn first and then teach him. It is often rather wobbly. When I looked over the language arts I wasn't sure what to expect but you can imagine my euphoria when I saw all of these grammar concepts...

If we didn't quite have a concept we could look in the 7th grade program as well and work our way up to something.  Honestly this practice was perfect for him and for me. Recently we have been working on prepositional phrases. Below is an example of what my son came upon .

When he selects the phrase it highlights the text. If he is correct it tells him and if he is not correct .... It tells him why. Big Big Big when you are in he upper grades and really need the why something isn't correct. I can use my teacher guides all I want but if I can't tell him why it is wrong. What use is it to him.  I was a little disappointed IXL ended at 8th grade but the good news is that it is a work in progress and the upper grades are coming soon!

My thoughts on IXL
IXL is a very basic program. It excludes the bells and whistles but is about content. I like that for my learners that do not need the distraction. Often times I would find my child struggling a bit with a topic and we would turn to IXL for more practice. It is a wonderful supplement to what you are already doing. My oldest daughter later this year will be doing Pre Calculus. I can only imagine how much this will helps us as we go. Honestly right now I wish Chemistry was there too. I can only see IXL growing as the years go and can't wait to see what else is added in the future. Thank you IXL for all the practice. Mom sure needed it.

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