Over the years, I have grown to appreciate the enhanced learning online programs offer to my children. One of the reasons I changed my opinion was because of our experience using IXL.
IXL is an online program with comprehensive math and language arts for children in kindergarten through twelfth grades, and social studies and science for students in second through eighth grades. It even offers math and language arts for pre-kindergarten students.
I remember seeing IXL ads occasionally, after it was first released in 2007. Although I was curious, I never pursued learning more. It would be a few years after that before we had the opportunity to review and use IXL. The offerings from the online program have grown over the years with more than “7,000 unique and challenging skills to master”, and the addition of Spanish to the curriculum. IXL has been a welcome addition in our school.
Using IXL is fun. Its tagline is, “Practice that feels like play.” According to my children, using IXL is fun. My response is, fun is all right to have while you are learning, so IXL fits right into our school.
Although I know a few families that use IXL as their full curriculum for math and language arts, we used the program only as a supplement. Most of our work is done offline and I prefer my children to have limited time on the computer. IXL makes it easy to adapt its programming to our school.
IXL does not teach the subjects it covers, but rather helps the student reinforce different topics and skills within a subject of study through the completion of challenges or exercises. Before you start using the program, you may have your child take a diagnostic exam in each subject to see suggested placement as to where they should begin working through the challenges.
Because we used it as a supplement, I chose the areas in the language arts section I wanted Canyon to complete. To give him a boost in the morning before we started our regular school material, I let him use IXL, which he looked forward to doing. I was able to let him work through each section independently.
I really like the narration button in the language arts section, which reads the directions and challenge to the student. That feature is available in pre-kindergarten through second grade.
Before the end of the day, I chose one section of math for him to complete that covered the same topic he covered that day. After he finished that section, I let him choose another math section of interest for him to complete.
When your child gets an answer incorrect, a thorough explanation is provide with the correct steps to solve the challenge.
Canyon liked completing the science challenges. Science is one of his favorite subjects.
I really do not like my children spending hours in front of a computer screen. If they are using a computer, I want it to be intentional and purposeful. As far as the amount of time spent using the program, obviously that is up to you as the parent. Your child, as did mine, will want to spend more time using IXL. Sometimes, that is okay, because they are learning.
Each challenge section has a timer that counts down/up the amount of seconds and minutes it takes the student to complete a section. All three of my children like timed challenges, so it did not bother them to see the timer ticking away as they tried to complete the challenges. If timed challenges cause anxiety in your child, you can hide the timer and just allow them to work through the challenges without the constant reminder.
Lily also used IXL, but I allowed her to pick and choose the sections she wanted to cover. She completed sections in her grade level of ninth, but I did find her a few times working through math lessons under that level just for fun.
One of the new sections of IXL is Spanish. Lily, who is currently studying two other languages, loves learning languages. She has previously studied Spanish, so working through this section was a good review for her. The Spanish section is a great introduction to the language. Again, your student will not be taught Spanish, but will be able to practice vocabulary and grammar of the language as well as sentence structure (the sound).
The narration audio option is available in the Spanish practice, which I love. Not only will a student be able to see how the words and sentences are read and written, but also how they are to sound. I like the addition of Spanish practice. I was able to understand some of the spoken conversation (and even guessed some right answers) of the challenges.
You can scroll through the directory and a pop-up will appear for you to see an example of the type of skills covered in that topic. If you hold the mouse over the topic, several examples from that section will scroll through. You don’t have to click through to the section to read and see what the section covers.
Some other features I like about IXL:
1) Parents can track the progress of their children. You can let them work at their own pace and on their own. IXL e-mails reports to you, so you can see how your child is progressing through the material. I too got excited when I received an e-mail telling me that Lily or Canyon had mastered a skill. The parent dashboard also gives you progress information for your student.
2) The variety and number of questions and activities included in each subject section in IXL keep the program interesting to use while your child is still learning. There are so many different challenges to complete in all of the subject areas where repeat questions are not likely.
3) IXL gives students unlimited access to all of the grade level material it offers. That is important to a homeschooler. Often, one (or more) child is grade level in one subject and maybe under or above grade level in another. My children were able to work according to their comprehension and were not limited to work only in their grade level. Having access to the higher-level material as their skills increase will allow your child to continue being challenged while using IXL. If your child is below grade level in either math, language arts or another offered subject, he is still able to use IXL and learn by covering material that is understandable to him.
Being able to use IXL on our iPads was extremely helpful. Canyon and Lily went back and forth between using the computer and iPad, but it was nice to have that option and being able to send someone to a quiet place for completing their work.
Certificates are earned for the work they complete. That is a wonderful way to be rewarded for work well done.
IXL is personalized learning that adapts to your child. Visit the website and try IXL for free!
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
You may purchase IXL as a single subject, combo or core subjects package.