I've come to realize how much the repetition of reviewing recently learned skills and even ones learned not so recently can help to retain and even understand the information better.
What is IXL?
To jog your memory IXL is an online skills practice program for Pre-K through Grade 12 (although I'll go over what specific grades are covered in each subject a little later in the review).
The skills covered are Math and Language Arts or English Skills as some people say.
The program is divided by Subject (Math or Language Arts) and by Grade. And there are a number of skills listed for each grade.
My daughter is in 4th Grade which lists 139 Skills for Language Arts and 280 Skills for Math.
What's in IXL?
New this year is the English or Language Arts portion of IXL. To be honest I kind dismissed this section and didn't think it would be of much use to us. My think was that my daughter had her English skills down pat and there is no need to review them. You see it's Math where we need to focus but we might take a peek at English. Let's just say my thinking has changed.
In homeschool we started off the school year reviewing nouns and pronouns. That was a couple of months ago now. We're working on writing skills now and it's nice to review the elements of Language Arts with IXL so she doesn't lose that while working on the correct way to write a letter or an essay.
The Language Arts section covers grades 2nd through 8th.
While my daughter is good at her Language Arts, Spelling and such, I can see by her interaction with the program that having the review is an excellent idea.
Then there is the Math section. From Pre-K to Calculus and all those great skills that kids hate to practice but somehow doing it online makes it all better.
It's like digital flash cards!
Oh! That's another thing.
As a parent you also receive regular reports in your email on how your child is doing in the subjects, how many they got right, what they may need to work on and how much time is being spent in the program.
You can also view this information online under the Parent tab.
And if you are so inclined you can also see how your child is doing for your state under state standards.
A former teacher (now homeschooling mom) and current friend once told me that you learn in the odd years or grades and review in the even years or grades. I don't think I've been homeschooling long enough to know how accurate that is but it's looking spot on.
How did we use IXL?
Right now in homeschool we are reviewing in most subjects in the 4th grade. Reviewing and then building upon. They are the same topics we studied in the 3rd grade just a little more in depth. Never knew that before. Rather nifty.
In Language Arts the topics I thought the Sweet Peanut had down pat she needed a refresher in I discovered while she was working in IXL. Even though she just had a refresher in her regular class!
And that's what IXL is. It's a supplement program to help reinforce what's already being learned. I know one homeschooler is using it as their main program for either Language Arts or Math but most of us are using it as review.
The IXL program is first divided into Math and Language Arts
From there skills are broken down by grade.
- Math covers grades Pre-K through to Pre-Calculus ( I know I said that already) because you know by the time you get to high school, depending upon your future goals you may continue on past Algebra with Math or put on the breaks.
- English covers grades 2nd through 8th.
- Once you or child pick which grade to work in then it's broken down by topic and within the topic there are a set number of skills.
If your child is like mine then maybe you need to have them work on a skill covered in an earlier grade. That's A-OK because you can move around in IXL. Great bonus!
Once your child is logged in they pretty much have free reign around the program. This can be good and bad.
How we use (because we are still using it) the program is that after English and Math The Sweet Peanut spends a few minutes in IXL as a review. About 5 to 10 minutes per subject. Not long because we're not using it as a stand alone curriculum.
I also check her reports that come into my email so I know what's up.
Was it perfect for us?
I really like IXL. In this digital age I have succumbed and realize that many online educational programs can be quite good. And this is one of them. It's like my daughter is doing her daily worktexts online instead of in a book. Which she actually prefers (but she does still do her written math and English worktexts).
The regular consistent practice of skills she's learning in class (homeschool class that is) are paying off. And the instant affirmation on the sidebar noting how many she's gotten right and how much time has elapsed urges her on to do more.
Even after grumbling about having to use it the first time I now have to tell her she's done the time I've asked of her and she can shut it down. She's enjoying it that much.
Now some of the math problems are a little longer and I think they could benefit from some sort of on screen scratch paper but then not having that has required my daughter to work a little more in her head. So maybe I need to rethink that thought.
I also wish that we of the earlier Kindle variety had the app available. I know this would make a big difference in how much I have to push her to work in IXL. Or at least an iPhone version. Homebound tests have proven that the Kindle and the iphone win out over the laptop.
Who can benefit from IXL?
Homeschool, private school, public school. Basically if your child is in school they can benefit from IXL. Several months ago I read an article about the benefits of doing skills practice especially in Math to help students. It's really a great idea.
How can I get IXL?
You can purchase IXL on a month to month basis or pay for a full year membership. Pricing for IXL memberships starts at just $9.95 a month or $79 a year for one subject (such as Math or English). Each additional child costs $2 a month or $20 a year. You can review the IXL pricing here.
IXL also comes in App form for the iPad, Android, and Kindle Fire 3rd Generation and higher. Unfortunately our Kindle is second generation so we were not able to try this out on the Kindle or on the iPhone. That is something I would love to see. I would love, love, to have a version for the Kindle.
You can connect with IXL online here…
And be sure and click through my button at the bottom to read more reviews of IXL online Learning.