Saturday, June 16, 2012

IXL: A Fantastic Site for Math!!

I've heard my friends who have children in public school rant and rave about IXL.  They just love how their kids can work on their math skills at home, even over the summer.  Well, what product soon comes my way for review?  You guessed it!  It was meant to be....

The kids and I have thoroughly enjoyed IXL the last month or so.  It reviews every skill under the sun in the realm of Math, grades Pre-K to 8th grade, plus Algebra.  Advanced topics such as Trigonometry and Geometry are on their way to being added to the site soon. 

Within each grade level, there are seveal different topics and sub-topics.  For example, if you click on "Fourth Grade", there are 22 general topics to choose from (Money, Time, Fractions, Coordinate Graphs).  Within each topic, there are subtopics which match up to your state's standards.  For instance, in "Money", you will find 8 different money topics, including "Making Change", "Unit Pricing", "Rounding Money Amounts".  You see how it goes....

What I love about IXL is that you can set the grade level for each child and it is kept hidden from their view.  I have one that works below grade level (for now) and it is often deflating for him to see that constant reminder on some of his assignments and workbooks.  Right now, he just knows he works in Level E.  The problems are presented using colorful pictures or some other type of visual to help them understand the problem being asked.  In fact, the Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade problems come with an audio feature to read the problem to the student!  Love that!

You can set up your parent account to receive emails daily or weekly to receive progress reports on your child.  You will see what they have been working on, how long they worked, how many problems they completed and what the outcome was.  This is all presented in a very easy to understand report, complete with a pie chart to see where they have been spending their time.  When you are signed in with your Parent login, you can poke around in all of the levels, even trying out the problems, and no progress is recorded.  I loved that feature.  Sometimes you just want to see what they are going to ask your child (did we cover this?  is the difficulty too low, too high?  etc.)

You will receive notifications when your child has mastered a topic, worked 100 problems, worked on IXL for 1 hour, etc.  You are able to print nice, colorful certificates to present your child, right there from these progress emails.  This was a nice touch.  I started not to print them (my kids are about to enter 5th and 7th grade).  But they still appreciated the certificates, so I'm glad I did :)

One of the coolest things about IXL is the virtual reward system.  Once they reach certain goals, colored ribbons show up in their sidebar.  They can then go to the Awards screen and uncover virtual rewards, such as a yacht or a starfish, etc.  Even my oldest son got excited.  We would all gather around when he finished his lesson and when he revealed his award on the chart, he, myself and his younger brother would yell (in a really exaggerated way)  "Oh my goodness!!!! It's a walrus!!! Woo-hoo!!!"  LOL.

What you need to know about IXL is that it does not TEACH your child concepts.  It is designed to work ALONGSIDE your math curriculum as a review, skill-builder, extra-practice.  It will not present a lesson or lecture.  If it did that, we would abandon all math curricula and just do IXL forever.  That's what my kids want, anyway! 

According to the IXL website, here are the benefits of membership:

  • Complete coverage of math curriculum from pre-K to algebra. Your kids won't miss a thing!
  • Unlimited questions in over 2,000 skills.
  • Fun and colorful practice formats.
  • Questions that adapt to your child's ability, increasing in difficulty as they improve.
  • Immediate feedback and question-specific explanations to solidify understanding of each concept.
  • Audio for all pre-K through first-grade skills.
  • Weekly e-mail updates on your child's progress.
  • Informative, detailed reports pointing out successes and trouble spots.
  • Awards and certificates for you and your children to print out as they reach important milestones.

Pricing for family memberships starts at just $9.95/month or $79/year. Each additional child costs $2/month or $20/year.  When my trial subscription is over, this is something I will definately be getting for the 2012-2013 school year.  I don't want to be without IXL again!

**Disclaimer:  I was given a 6-month trial subscription to test-drive IXL for review purposes.  No other compensation was provided to me and my honest opinion is what I have provided here.

See what the other reviewers from The Homeschool Crew Review Team thought about IXL here


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