For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Thursday, November 7, 2013

IXL - TOS Review

We are approaching the end of our crew run and one of our last two review products is truly a gem in the homeschool community.
IXL is an online interactive program for kids in grade PreK - 12 offering Math and Language Arts practice.

We were blessed to received both programs to use and review. We used both programs with both the boys, grade 3 and 5. 

IXL is basically a practice program that allows for the student to practice and review concepts. IXL lets you practice concepts in each grades according to the standards of each different States in the USA, and in over 8 other countries. It is important to note that the Language Arts portion of the program is only available in the USA at the moment and only goes up to grade 4 so far. More grades are to come.
As can be assumed the amount of skills practiced increases with each grade going from about 41 in Pre-K to 280 in grade 10. You can see all the topics covered here.

IXL is mainly a practice and drill program, so is best used as a supplement or for practicing skills.

Our opinion:

The boys had a love and hate relationship with IXL. Some of the practices were easy, some were challenging. The practices have a feel of drills but without the dryness. It really consists in a successions of questions (one at a time) which gives you points until you reach a level of mastery which the parent sets. I set the boys' to 100. For some of the concepts I allowed them to stop once they reached 80 but that meant they were not getting any medal or prize for their work and it will not be marked completed. When you made a mistake your points you would lose points. To see what the rewards look like you can check it here.

I loved that the questions challenged their understanding of key concepts, and the repetition allowed for making sure they really understood what they were doing and not just being mechanical. 

When a mistake is made a written explanation is offered and then you were expected to press on.
IXL also offers a report for the parent, which comes in your e-mail, telling you what your child has done, how long was spent practicing, as well as their score. You even receive colourful certificates to print for your child.
Other aspects I like about IXL:
  • You have access to all the grades.
  • It is independent, assuming the child can read from grade 1 and up, and unless the child is having difficulty with the conceps itself.
  • It is colourful.
  • It is easy to set up and use.
  • It is straightforward.
  • The questions adapt to the child abilities and increases in difficult as he keeps answering.
  • Both programs (Math and LA) have a wide breadth and covers a lot of topics.
  • It is not game-like but yet keeps the child engaged.
We used IXL Math and LA daily and exclusively for the time of the review. Using this was perfect for our homeschool right now as it allowed for me to see and correct, or hammed down those things that were not so clear or properly mastered yet. We will certainly continue with this daily for a while, then as a supplement when we start again on new concepts.

Lastly, something else to note, which I also like, is that it demands attention to details. My kids branded the program as being "picky". Let me explain. Let's say for example you are working on possessives and you have to correct a word at the beginning of a sentence, if you do not write that word with a capital letter, it will mark it as wrong. Same goes with a proper noun, always demanding a capital letter even if the practice in question is about subjects.

All in all I think IXL is a great supplement and practice program. It will help your kids excel in every topics in Math and Language Arts. Make sure to check it out.
For more information you can go here and here. For a visual idea of how the whole thing works you can click here.

Price:

$9.95 or $15.95 for  both per monthly
$79 or $129 for both per year

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