My kids always get excited about the chance to ‘do school’ on the computer. It’s fun, and it offers a welcome change of pace. We recently had the opportunity to add a little more computer time into our homeschooling day by reviewing the online subscription program IXL.com. IXL.com is an online learning program which provides a student with practice and reinforcement in the areas of math and language arts. For this review, I received one year of the Online Math Membership and the Online Language Arts Membership for 3 of my children.
Currently, IXL.com offers math lessons for grades PreK-12th and language arts lessons for grades 2-4, with more levels be added to both areas soon. Membership fees are as follows (which allows for access to all the grade levels in the subject area you purchase):
- Math – $9.95
- Language Arts – $9.95
- Both subjects – $15.95
- This pricing is per child; each additional child is $2/month
- Math – $79
- Language Arts – $79
- Both subjects – $129
- This pricing is per child; each additional child is $20/year
IXL.com offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee.
With an IXL.com membership, you will get access to a multitude of practice problems in numerous different skill areas, reports that help track your child’s performance and progress, and virtual prizes and printable award certificates for the child as they reach certain milestones and master skills. Also, IXL is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
For the purpose of this review, our family focused on the math offerings of the program and used it with our 6th grader, 4th grader, and 1st grader. Each child used the program 4 days a week, for 20-30 minutes per session, to practice math skills.
I couldn’t believe the number of skills covered in this program! PreK covers the least amount of skills with 42, and 6th grade covers the most with 284, with all the other grades somewhere in between. On their website, they proclaim that ‘an unlimited (seriously, infinite) number of math problems await each child’ and that’s not an exaggeration. I was definitely impressed with the quantity of skills covered and practice problems available.
I started each of my kids out at their grade level with the intention of having them use this program independently for practicing skills we have already covered. I quickly realized that their current grade level was a little too hard for them, so I moved them all down a grade. I was okay with this since we are toward the beginning of our school year and a lot of the skills they haven’t learned yet, so it just made sense to move them down and practice skills from their previous grade level. However, I also felt that a lot of the skills in the previous grade were too advanced for them too. My kids are on grade-level in our homeschool math curriculum, so I was a little perplexed that the previous grade level was still a bit difficult. My hope was to use this program for practice and reinforcement and be able to send the kids off to do this independently (as a homeschooling mom of 7, it’s nice to have opportunities like this to have the kids work on their own), however, I would have to pick and choose which skills I would want them to work on and I would often be called into the room because they were frustrated.
Besides the quantity of questions and skills covered, I was also impressed with how detailed the progress reports were. The progress reports provide you with the following information:
- Proficiency assessment
- News flashes
- Report card
- Performance by category
- Performance by skill (click on image below to see it larger)
- Improvement over time
- Problems received
- Skills practiced
- Usage log
- Trouble spots
- Standards performance
- Improvement by standard
Another thing I liked about the program, allowing it to be used independently, was the little speaker buttons that are provided at the PreK, K, and 1st grade levels that read the questions and answer choices to a non-reader. The narration wasn’t the best quality and was occasionally hard to understand, but for the most part it served its purpose.
IXL.com was definitely a bigger hit with my younger kids (my preschooler also gave it a try because she was begging to do it like her older siblings). They liked being able to get on the computer and thought the prizes were fun. However, my 4th and 6th grader quickly grew bored with it. The questions are quite monotonous and not very exciting and the prizes/awards were a bit “babyish” for my4th and 6th graders which didn’t provide much motivation for them.
Overall, I feel that this program is a good option for homeschool kids and public/private school kids to practice math and language arts skills. However, it may require some tweaking and exploration from the parent in order to determine the appropriate levels for your child. We will continue to use this program for review purposes, but most likely just with my younger kids.