For the past several weeks our family has been checking out the IXL Full Annual Membership from IXL Learning. This learning program is different from others that we have used, containing lessons for kids from Pre-K through Grade 12. Rather than being a complete curriculum, this program teaches but also helps identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
IXL is also completely turnkey so all you have to do is sign on to the website and away you go. There are, of course, parent supports that allow you to track how your child is doing and (this part I especially liked) what percentage of their time they spend on various tasks.
I could easily see from this early report that EJ was choosing to go with the simple stuff while practicing on his own. While I don’t think this is always a bad thing, it is something I like to stay on top of to be sure he is using it for review and not just filling his practice time with things he already has a mastery of.
The Diagnostic area of IXL is super helpful to both you as a homeschooling parent as well as your kids since they are able to see their results and move onto the recommendations IXL makes to help them move forward in their learning. Here is a video from their site. It’s targeted a bit more to teachers in a classroom but we found it worked equally as well in our homeschool.
How we used IXL
When we first began using IXL I wasn’t quite sure how it would best fit into our homeschool day but was very interested in using it for learning Spanish since this has been on our bucket list for the past several months. Since we travel a lot, EJ is becoming interested in being able to speak at least a smattering of Spanish and French so this seemed like a good place to start.
I let EJ poke through the different Spanish areas to begin with to get a feeling for the lessons. Since his Spanish is limited to “gracias” he found himself guessing the answers quite a bit but once he began at the beginning (with the alphabet) listening to the letters and then choosing the corresponding one in print got him going fairly well. He is feeling fairly good about his progress but is still a bit shy of trying out his new words.
It was also handy to have IXL available on our tablets and phones since EJ could get some practice done while we were waiting for appointments or even for picking his aunt up from work. Having an app to go along with a program is a big plus for me, especially on a busy day.
After our introduction to Spanish, we decided to have a look at all of the different subjects that are available and were happy to find a great variety in math, language arts, science, and social studies. There is also a broad range of grade levels that you have access to so if there is a topic you are working on but it appears in a different grade than you are working on, you can go ahead and work on that one. This also works well if your child is like EJ and is at different grade levels for different subjects. (You can hide the grade levels if that works better for your style of learning as well.)
Since we have another little one quickly heading toward the Pre-K age group, I had a look through some of their activities as well. They look like a lot of fun.
And while all age groups will earn prizes and certificates, the ones for the littlest groups are absolutely adorable.
EJ began using IXL with a bit of confusion about the layout of the activities in some sections. Since many of the areas are meant to analyze and review what your child already knows, there is no teaching before the questions and they act more like a review. If your child answers correctly they move on but if they have an incorrect response, a script pops up explaining the correct answer as well as the process to get there.
Once he got the hang of these types of exercises it was smooth sailing and he really enjoyed the ones where the information was provided to him before he had to respond. One in particular, on the solar system, was set up as a challenge with the goal of getting six correct answers out of eight questions. Even though he didn’t quite make it the first time, he was eager to try the next set to see if he could win!
He also enjoyed the language arts activities and said he liked having the “extra opportunities for learning” they provided. I asked what he meant by that and he said when he was given a passage to read and there was something in it he didn’t know about he Googled it and learned “extra stuff” and it made his language arts work more fun.
One of the features he specifically liked and pointed out is the message at the bottom of each exercise that provides a suggested lesson if your child is not yet feeling ready for the one in front of him. This usually will be to a previous level but it will also be an earlier step in the overall process that will help them achieve the skill success they will need for their present level. He says this feature is a game changer and he loves it. He says it really helped him to stay on track and keep moving ahead without losing interest because the questions were too hard or he couldn’t understand them. (Anything that will help a child with ADHD not lose interest is a plus for me.)
I liked this program and am sure we will continue to use it throughout the year. The variety is good and having the ability to move up and down in grades/levels make it something we can use for both new concepts as well as reviewing of ones we have already learned.
I am also a fan of the recommendations that are presented to help kids reach out and study different subjects and areas based on what they have already been working on. I know EJ felt very grown up and independent and he actually seemed to spend more time practicing when choosing his own direction.
All in all we found the IXL full annual membership from IXL Learning to be a good fit for our family. It is a solid resource to supplement our regular curriculum and to act as a review to keep EJ’s skill levels up. This is definitely something that fits in with our traveling lifestyle since even on a travel day there is time to sign-on to the app and get some work done.
With so many different options for grades from Pre-K through high school, there is certain to be something to match up with your families ages. Be sure to click on the image below to see what other Crew families had to say about it.