While I have found many online programs to be hit or miss as far as instruction goes, I think they can be very useful as a supplement to the instruction I provide. I have been pretty happy with our main math program so far (my youngest is in Pre-Algebra) but I do feel like he could use some extra practice on some topics. So, for this review, I was glad to get a chance to check out IXL for their math and language arts programs.
IXL offers practice on a variety of skills organized by grade level. What I really like about it is the fact that you can have your child work at any level you want. So, if your child is slightly above or below grade level in an area, you can have them practice skills they need. My son worked mainly on the 8th grade math topics. Skills are organized by topic, such as measurement, problem solving, linear functions, single-variable equations etc. You do not have to follow the lessons in order, which is a big help.
I had my son use IXL three-five days a week for additional practice after math. I would choose a topic that corresponded with our math lesson at least three of the days, and then we would spend two days working on things that he needed help in (mostly fractions). He would usually work on this after completing his math lesson. It worked out well for us because IXL only took him about 10-15 minutes to complete. The lessons are pretty simple, the student completes a series of practice problems. Students earn points as they complete problems, and the lesson is complete when they earn a certain amount of points. They are awarded more points for solving problems faster. When they get problems wrong, they lose points.
If a student misses a problem, they are shown the correct answer, and then given a brief explanation of how to solve the problem correctly. Then they complete another problem. Now, IXL does not provide instruction in the form or videos or detailed explanations. The idea is that they are getting the instruction from you. However, IXL will provide plenty of extra practice with some reinforcement.
IXL Language Arts works in much the same way. Topics covered for 8th grade include serial commas, verb tense, context clues, analogies, and more. The lessons follow the same structure, with the student completing a series of practice problems and getting instruction when they get an answer wrong. The instruction they get is very clear, with examples. I found that my son was able to follow the lessons very well, and only occasionally needed further clarification.
The math practice in particular was very effective for my son. It was nice that we could get in extra practice on topics he is struggling with without having to take extra time away from math. Also, while I like our math program a lot for its instruction, it does not include a lot of practice, so IXL was a great supplement.
For parents, IXL emails you reports about your child’s activity for the week, and you can log in and look at their progress reports. These tell you how much time your child spent on each topic and how they are doing as well. The Trouble Spot report identifies particular areas that your child needs more practice in. I found these reports to be helpful, especially because I mainly had my son log in and practice on his own.
IXL offers math for grades Pre-K-12 and language practice for grades 2-8 and has monthly and yearly subscriptions. They also have mobile apps available. A one subject subscription costs $9.95 per month while a two subject subscription costs $15.95 per month. Yearly subscriptions are $79 for one child in one subject and $129 for one child in two subjects. Additional children cost $2 more per month or $20 more per year. I think that if you are looking for extra practice that is easy to do and manage, I would definitely recommended it.
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