Friday, November 7, 2014

IXL (Schoolhouse Review)

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We have been using the math portion of  IXL for a few years. We’ve tried out quite a few online math programs, but I keep coming back to IXL Math as my favorite math practice program, so I was thrilled to be able to review it again in exchange for another year’s subscription.

Until now, we hadn’t tried out IXL Language Arts. It’s a newer aspect of the IXL site and until very recently, there weren’t practice activities for older students. However, language arts activities are now available for second through eighth grades, so Emily (ninth grade) was able to give language arts a try as well.

IXL Math includes practice problems for Pre-K level all the way through pre-calculus. The scope and sequence is extremely thorough, including as many as 309 different skills per grade level. Emily has been working in the Algebra level, which is more thorough than her textbook! That said, it is still a practice program. Students are able to see explanations and worked-out solutions for problems that they miss, but no initial teaching is provided prior to beginning a section.

A subscription offers access to all levels of the program, so a student is able to skip from one level to another at any time. Emily is studying geometry this year, but I have her working in algebra in IXL for review. At any point, she can choose to practice a geometry skill, or even a basic math skill from a lower level. That’s an advantage over some programs that keep the student locked into a particular level.

Upon sign in, you pick your grade level….

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Then you choose a topic to practice. Topics that have been attempted or mastered have a score and/or medal beside them.

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As you answer questions correctly your “smart score” goes up. If you make a mistake, your smart score goes down. A score of 100 earns a medal. Virtual prizes are earned for mastering skill areas and for practice time. Emily didn’t care about this, but enjoyed this feature when she was younger.

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If a mistake is made, the student can see an explanation.

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IXL Language Arts works the same way. The eighth grade level covers a wide variety of topics—punctuation, parts of speech, clauses, Greek and Latin roots, reference skills, figurative language, and much more. By spending just 10-15 minutes a day on IXL language arts, Emily is able to review or practice her grammar and vocabulary skills. The nature of the program doesn’t allow it to teach the aspects of  language arts that I consider most important—literature and writing, but it is a great tool for covering the mechanics of language.

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The reports section of IXL is amazing, allowing the parent to see how much time the child spends practicing in a day, week, or month, which areas were practiced, improvement over time, and smart scores for every topic.

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I think that IXL is engaging, enjoyable, and comprehensive. It is an important part of our curriculum and is a great homeschool or after-school supplement.

IXL is $9.95 a month/$79 a year for one subject or $15.95 a month/ $129 a year for both math and language arts. Additional students in a family are an additional $2/month or $20/year.

 

Click to read Crew Reviews
I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

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