My youngest is very tactile and wiggly and is not really capable of the kind of “school” I did with her older sister. She prefers to learn organically and indeed, picks up everything on the fly. But she does like to do school type stuff & always asked to do “computer school” like Dagny. When the opportunity to review IXL for the review crew came up and I realized they had preschool math, I leapt at the opportunity!
IXL is a skills practice program consisting of IXL Math and IXL Language Arts for grades PK through 12. It is aligned with common core as well as standards state standards (check your state). The math skills go from PreK through 12 and language arts begins in 2nd grade and goes through 8th. In addition to online access to the practice problems, they also have a iPad & android apps, but only the iPad app includes language arts at this time. Use of the apps is included in the membership. Pricing is $9.99/mo or $79/year for 1 student/subject. Access to both subjects is $15.95/mo or $129/year. There is also a very discounted rate for additional students on your account.
How IXL Works
So how it works is that IXL has certain skills that a child should have and they are all grouped into short lists. As the child masters them, the list shows a medal next to the topic.
Within the practice itself, there are practice problems. If your child is a struggling reader, its not a problem; the questions & answers all have audio options. They answer practice problems earning points for each question. When they reach certain thresholds, they get a bronze or silver medal. Once the hit 90 pts, they have a final set of questions to get right to earn the gold and the questions get progressively more difficult.
There are awards for various milestones that fall under # questions answered, time spent, and skills mastered. They are quick to start to build motivation but then space out a little more. Each student has an awards board where they earn little icons in the board. For preschoolers, they earn things like jacks, slides, balls and other virtual toys.
Likes & Dislikes
My youngest was the primary user of IXL Math. She was using the PreK level. We primarily used this on the computer and it was not as difficult as I thought it would be for her to learn enough computer skills to be able to use IXL without frustration. I did try accessing the program via the android app and it was actually harder. She kept touching other parts of the screen and adding spaces to her answers making them incorrect, when they really weren’t.
Itty Bitty LOVES working on IXL. The aim was to use it 3 days a week for 15 minutes a day. She found no problem doing that during weeks we had school. Since this is a review/practice program, not a teaching one, we began to run out of material she could successfully complete in a reasonable time. There are only 42 skills in 10 areas and she JUST turned 4. We just started purposeful discussions on some topics and so she blew through some that she knew via real life / osmosis :).
My oldest did some language arts at the second grade level. As I mentioned this is not a teaching program and I haven’t covered a lot of LA yet. She worked on the basic skills at the second grade level and blew through a TON of questions. She enjoyed earning the badges but otherwise had neither a special like or dislike of it.
From a mom’s perspective, I liked the audio support for non-readers/struggling readers. I also really liked how the skill sets are broken out into sub sets and get progressively more difficult. It’s nice to know what I’ve not covered yet and easy to see where we need to work and practice. The awards are a great motivator for the girls.
My favorite part? Well, I have two, actually. The first is that I get emailed pretty certificates when they do things like hit 200 questions. The second is that it automatically emails me a report showing what section each child worked in, a summary of how much time they spent, how many questions they answered, and what skills they mastered. It also shows a detail of the specific results for each subsection worked in.
But, if you want to know more, you can see really detailed reports in the parents section on the website. There are pie charts, bar graphs and lists of topics/time, report cards of a summary of all the topics by child/subject and more. Awesome feature for data dorks like me :).
Overall, I REALLY liked using IXL. My kids liked IXL. I love the automatic report emails and the detailed reporting you can access online. The single question format is great for kids who get overwhelmed by seeing a whole page of practice problems (even if they don’t have to do them all). I like the guideline and breakdown of topics and I’m pretty excited to be able to have both kids on the same program. It’s not dumbed down or overly game-y. The content is solidly educational as opposed to edutainment. Even if you aren’t a homeschooler, if you are a parent with the HEART of a homeschooler, this is a great tool to help keep on top of what your child is (or isn’t) learning in school.
Go to Schoolhouse Review Crew to see what other reviewers thought of the math & language art review program from IXL.