Saturday, November 2, 2013

IXL.com {A Review}

IXL.com provided us with a full year to both their Online Math Membership (Pre-K to 12) and Online Language Arts Membership (2nd to 4th)  ($129.00 a year). We choose to review the online math membership (They've just released a free iPad app for pre-K through 6th grade math.).


What IXL Offers
IXL provides game like questions to interact with a child in a progression from easier concepts to more difficult tasks under certain topics. The program assesses the results of the child's practice and generates performance reports to keep parents up to date on the child's proficiency of topics, trouble spots, and improvement over time. You can even view the actual problems a student missed and the answers submitted.

As your child masters skills, they collect ribbons, medals, and other virtual prizes. The virtual awards are based on a themed game board, filled with hidden prizes. Pre-k has a toy theme, second grade is a seaside theme, and fifth grade has a city scape collection. To collect the awards, the child clicks on the star card and a prize reveals itself. 

Student milestones are also provided so you can print out customized certificates for your child.

We received a weekly family report via e-mail. It included each child's math usage (with an option for language arts): time spent, problems correct, and skills mastered. Each skill was listed with the child's current score, correct items to total items given, and time spent working. But if you are wishing for more immediate data, you have access to your students' usage data, so you'll know when assignments are completed, as well as how your children are performing.





We used the pre-k, second, and fifth grade maths.

Pre-K works on the topics: shapes, count to 3, count to 5, count to 10, count to 20, comparing, positions, classify, size, and money.

Second works on the topics: counting and number, subtraction-one digit, subtraction-two digits, subtraction-three digits, logical reasoning, money, comparing and ordering, names of numbers, patterns, addition-one digit, addition-two digit, addition-three digit, patterns, data and graphs, time, properties, mixed operations, measurement, place value, geometry, fractions, estimation and rounding, probability and statistics, multiplication, and division.

Fifth grade works on the topics: place value, geometry, mixed operations, algebra, division, division with decimals, problem solving, number theory, fractions and mixed numbers, coordinate graphs, data and graphs, decimals, addition and subtraction, add and subtract fractions, patterns and sequences, consumer math, ratios, proportions, and percents, add and subtract decimals, multiplication,  multiply fractions, divide fractions, measurement, time, probability and statistics, and multiply decimals.

Additional Materials Required

While the games themselves are all right there on the screen (internet access required), we found a pencil and paper came in handy from time to time with the more difficult problems. I would also use various internet sites to look up information on new concepts to help the children along with their work.

Time Frame 
The second and fifth grade games took about 15-20 minutes. The pre-k games were much shorter, approximately 5 minutes. 

Parents can invest as little or as much time as they want. I often dropped in on Ceesa and Jo-Jo to help answer questions. I sat with Little Man and did his clicking. If there was anything, he didn't understand I would explain it as we went along.

How We Used It
Each child worked at his/her level for a set time each day. I found that about 15-20 minutes was a good time for Ceesa and Jo-Jo. Little Man played one game at a sitting. The girls played the games about 4 times a week. 

What We Liked
All of the kids liked the games with actual pictures and really liked to check out their rewards on the game/reward board. They always wanted to see what rewards their siblings had since they were different for each one.

Funny
When Jo-Jo was working on place value-she started counting in Spanish to decide what place the item requested was in. 

Wish List
We could have used a teach me option that the child could use to look over the concept ahead of the game. It was frustrating for Ceesa, especially, to have to guess when she had no experience with the math concept before.  

Another thing I'd love to see integrated would be a vocabulary button for reading new math terms. Maybe something the child could click on that would read the word accurately to the child.

My kids liked the encouragement/praise after the problems and the reward board. Although to me, it seemed like more than necessary. I would be satisfied with an (at the end of the game) encouragement.

Wishing you homeschool blessings,


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