We live in a remarkable era when we can bring customized learning experiences to our children with the click of a button. IXL Learning offers online educational material that is more than just math drill and spelling practice. As a member of the Homeschool Review Crew, I received a full annual membership to IXL for my daughter. We have access to a wide variety of topics such as Math, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies – even an Intro to Spanish!
Practice makes perfect and repetition helps bring about mastery. That’s the goal, and that’s where IXL can help. With the help of interactive diagnostic exercises, recommendations will be given for your student. He’ll be able to jump in and follow the prompts given in the various subjects and tabs to review and reinforce their knowledge in all the core subjects of any grade level.
The grade levels range from Pre-K to 12th, depending on the subject. With a membership you have access to all grade levels, regardless of where the student has placed in the diagnostic questions. This allows you to adjust your child’s learning level in every subject area. My children have often been at different grade levels for different subjects at any given time, so this feature makes the experience very customizable.
15 minutes a day is recommended. The student logs in and chooses the subject area and grade level they want to work on and begins answering a variety of questions. The IXL website tracks the amount of time, the number of correct and incorrect answers, the number of questions answered in each category, etc.
How we used IXL –
It was easy to set things up. This included my own parent account as well as my daughter’s student account. She was rather excited to personalize her own account with an icon of her choosing and a secret word (password) of her own. I have full access to both the parent and student accounts, but she is able to easily log in on the student section herself each day. We are accessing the program from our desktop and laptop computers. (There is an app for the ipad available which would be great for when we are on-the-go.)
Bekah first worked in the diagnostic section of the program, to help determine what grade level she she would need to work in the different subject areas. Answering a handful of questions in each of the categories gives the program enough information to recommend a starting place. I quickly learned that we can re-visit the diagnostics tab at any time, to help fine tune these recommendations.
The recommendations for Bekah were pretty accurate, but there were times I wanted her to work on areas I felt she still needed reinforcement. There were also times I wanted her to challenge herself, so I was very happy to see that we could choose any grade level in any subject area. I mentioned this was a customizable program, right?
I assigned my 12 year old daughter sections to work on for 15 minutes a day, 3 days a week. This was a supplement her schooling. I chose sections I feel she needed reinforcement or drill work. The checklists under each tab make it easy.
The process is simple – Bekah clicks on the subject tab and grade level, clicks on the skill I’ve assigned her, then follows the prompts on the screen. Sometimes it’s a simple questions with a multiple choice answer. Sometimes there is a passage to read with a question based on the reading. Some exercises ask her to highlight the text that has a mistake or states the answer to the question. Immediately she is given feedback, with encouraging words and more information to further her knowledge. When she answers incorrectly, she shown where she made her mistake and then a similar question will recycle through at a later time, giving her opportunity to learn and master. She much prefers the “great job!” messages, though.
The learning is fun when you can collect prizes, right? Students collect coins and awards, giving a visual of how much they’ve accomplished. I am usually cautious about using programs that give awards and prizes, making it all a game, but I was pleased with how IXL handles this. The reward is there, in a subtle but highly effective manner.
After her 15 minutes of assigned work, she was free to poke around and explore anything on the site she wished. She quickly gravitated to the Spanish tab. I have been impressed by how much she’s picked up from the introduction all ready, even with no previous experience learning Spanish.
As the parent, I receive emails informing me of her progress. They tell me how many minutes she’s worked, what goals she accomplished, award certificates, etc. I can track her progress through charts and graphs provided on the parent side of the website. I really like this integration because it gives me current data. I can monitor how well my daughter is doing and make note of areas she needs work as well as celebrate victory, without looking over her shoulder every moment.
What we thought –
I am impressed with IXL Learning. They provide a great way to reinforce learning. I do not see it as a full curriculum, but a supplement that will enhance our homeschool. Their website gives us straight forward drill work. I like that it is not gimmicky or cartoonish, but is still presented in a colorful and interesting way. Many online supplements we’ve tried have either leaned toward the childish or the boring. Not so with IXL.
I plan to have Bekah continue her time on the website a few days per week, following the same pattern we’ve started. It has added some nice variety to her school day. IXL is not just for homeschooling families, though. a membership to their site will give any parent, teacher or caregiver access to tools that will strengthen knowledge and ecducation of children of all ages in school settings of all sorts as well as at home.
Many families on the Review Crew are using IXL Learning in their homeschools. Click on the image below to see how it’s working for them!