Thursday, November 7, 2013
IXL.com (Math and Language Arts) - A Review
My girls have been keeping their Math and Language Arts skills fresh this month thanks to IXL.com
Our family was given a free Online Math Membership , and Online Language Arts Membership in exchange for a review. We were very happy to participate in that agreement :) The ladies always benefit from extra Math practice, and I was interested in seeing what the Language Arts had to offer.
I didn't have any particular expectations regarding this review, but when I began exploring the Math program, I was very impressed with the huge amount of material that they offer. First of all, grades Pre-K through 12th are covered, so this appealed to me since we teach several grades. When you get to the Math page , all of the grades are there, along with a sample of some of the skills. Just click on the grade you're working on. Then, prepare to be amazed ;) Why? Because you have the option of clicking to see ALL of the possible skills for any particular grade, and it has them all!
You should have no problem finding that area that your student needs to practice. We're working through 3rd and 4th grades, and both sections have well over 200 skills available. I will just note here that this is a supplemental program, not a curriculum in and of itself. Just click on the skill you want, and it will take you there. That's a feature that I like. It doesn't start and stop at a specific point, so you can use this at any point throughout the year, with whatever curriculum you might be using.
There are two ways to log in, one for the parents, and one for the student. This makes it easy to keep track of how your child is doing, but IXL.com goes further than that. They email progress reports for every amount of time spent working through a skill. They're all personalized, very colorful, and cheer your child on. Included in those are printable certificates that can spur them on, if you happen to have a child that is motivated that way. My girls get pumped up about those, so they're effective for us.
In addition to the reports, they also send reports about the percentage of proficiency in the grade your child currently has in the program. So, you might find that handy as well for your school records.
Now, a little about what a lesson looks like.
Your child logs in, and chooses a skill. It only made sense for us to select one that related to what they're learning in their main Math curriculum, so that's what they did. As they work through a set number of problems, they accumulate points that are visible on the right side of the screen. It also displays how many more points/problems are required to finish that section. When an answer is correct, they get points and move closer to the goal, which is a virtual prize- I'll talk about that shortly. If they answer incorrectly, they lose a couple of points, and then get a mini lesson on what they did wrong, what the correct answer is, and how to get to the correct answer. Then they have to click a button that says "Got it!" to move on. I like that! Just make sure that you're close by as your student is working, because you may have one or two problems where the child is tempted to skip the lesson when that happens, and move on, without necessarily having learned why they answered wrong. My oldest tried that a couple of times ;)
Of course, as we have found with many computer programs in general, sometimes they do know the answer, but either don't click all the way, or click to fast, and get it wrong unintentionally. But I'm still close by just to make sure they're on the straight and narrow.
When they successfully complete the set of problems, they get to visit a virtual game board for their grade level. It kind of looks like a Bingo board, with lots of squares to uncover. Each board has a different theme. The board will show which squares can be uncovered after receiving a reward. The rest of the squares have question marks on them, to be uncovered at another time. You can find out what skill is required to master, by hovering over any of the squares with your mouse. My girls love to visit the rewards page :)
I think the Math is the favorite page, but they've done well with Language Arts too.
You know, we've never referred to the subject by that title- not for any particular reason- it's just been, spelling, grammar, writing. So, I think that at first they were scared off by the name. I assured them it would be familiar to them, and when they saw for themselves that they did, they were relieved and ready to get on with it.
Language Arts works like the Math. Choose your grade level and the skill you want to work on. There are a limited number of grades for LA at this point - 2nd-4th grade- but we're told that more are on the way soon. Fortunately for us, we have two girls right in that range, so both were able to benefit from the over 100 skills available in this subject. Again, as with the Math, we chose skills that related to our current Grammar lessons, and used this to supplement. The nice thing with the questions, is that they automatically adjust to your child's progress, and increase in difficulty as appropriate.
You'll work on all the things that you would expect:
Types of sentences
Subject and Predicate
And on and on.
Hover over any of the skills, and you'll get sample sentence to see what will be covered.
And like Math, there are progress reports, awards, and help for incorrect answers.
As I wrap all of this up, I would say that my girls and I are new fans of this online program. It's exceeded anything that I would hope a program as this would include. It's a great supplement to our main studies, and has already improved their understanding in several skill areas, particularly Math. I have no hesitance in recommending this for any family to add to their homeschool. For those that don't homeschool, it's still a great addition for extra practice. Click on the links below to see more for yourself and read what other crew members had to say.
Online Math Membership (Pre-K- 12)
Online Language Arts Membership - (2nd - 4th)
Price: $9.95/monthly $79.00 for either program, or $15.95/monthly $129.00 yearly for both
Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew