6/21/12

Crew Review: IXL Math

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For the past several weeks, Tailorbear and Supergirl have been using IXL Math, an online supplemental math practice program.  With an IXL membership (beginning at just $9.95 a month), your student will gain access to math skills ranging from Pre-K through Algebra.   A membership includes a parent account and one student account.  Additional students are just $2 a month.  Yearly pricing plans are also available.

I’ve used the word supplement, however, IXL uses the word “practice”.  From the User Guide “IXL offers a dynamic and fun environment for students to practice math.” (emphasis mine).   This program is not intended as a full curriculum but instead works alongside your regular program to provide additional practice for mastering each skill.  Did I mention that these skills meet state standards and that you can practice skills according to your state’s standards?

Explicit teaching won’t be found at IXL, however, explanations for each problem are available. When Supergirl or Tailorbear misses a question, she can choose to “show explanation”.  The program pops up with a “Sorry – incorrect box”.  She can click “ok” which takes her back to practicing or she can click “explanation” which will you give a hint or statement to remember and then show you how the problem should be worked. 

Choose by grade level
IXL Practice Tab

 
Or Choose by Topic
IXL by Topic

A few features I really liked:

  • The Weekly Family email report ~ This gives me an overview including what skills were practiced and how long each student spent on each topic.
  • FULL access to ALL the skills and topics ~ this means that either of my students can work on any topic or skill she needs.  Supergirl has been working through skills in the Pre-K, K and 1st grade sections.  Tailorbear has been working through mostly 7th and 8th grade topics.
  • Grade Level Can be Hidden ~ There is an option to hide the grade level.  This changes the “grade” to a letter level such as Level D or Level G.
  • Can choose skills by topic or grade(level) ~ When you click on the practice tab you will see a tabbed column on the left.  One tab is for grade (or level if grade is hidden) and the other tab lists by topic.  I love this!  If I want Tailorbear to work on a specific topic, I can send her to the topic tab and IXL will show her all the skills from every grade for that topic.
  • Math Problems can be “read” to younger students ~ For the Prek, K, and 1st grade, there is a “sound” icon the student can click to hear the problem read.
  • Deep Discounts for multiple children! ~ each additional child is only $2 per month or $20 per year.  This makes the program more affordable.

IXL doesn’t just want your child to excel at math.  “IXL is not just about helping your child learn math — it's also about helping your child learn to love the subject.”   IXL gives awards and prizes for things like time spent practicing and the number of skills mastered.  These awards are “like one big treasure hunt. But you only win when you excel!”

But what about our experience?  Would I recommend it?  (Yes, I would!)

Tailorbear reports, “It’s not a tutorial.  It’s practice.  If you don’t know it, you might need something else to teach it, but this is great for practicing to gain mastery.”   She also tells me that she “liked it. It’s really good for practicing stuff I have trouble with.”  I like this program for her because I worry that I haven’t been as consistent with math with her as I have been with her sisters.  I worry that she has gaps in her skills.  IXL fills in those gaps.

I love this program for Supergirl.  She needs so much practice for each topic and I can’t always provide more ways for her to practice, and cover such a wide variety of skills.  She can be independent with this program (as long as we’re working on skills at 1st grade or lower).  IXL steps in and provides the practice she needs and frees me to concentrate on teaching the other areas of Supergirl’s education. 

But what does Supergirl think?  “I like it because it’s fun but it was work to do all those pennies and nickels.”

There is so much I want to share about this program but I just don’t have the space in this post. Be sure to read the User Guide at the www.ixl.com website. It is full of information and includes a variety of screen shots!

Click on the banner below to read what other Crew Members had to say about IXL.com.

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All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received a 6 month subscription for 2 students free of charge to review. I am required to write a review but I am not required to write a positive review. This review contains my and/or my daughters’ honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I/ we liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

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