I have a really exciting program to review for you today! For the past 6 weeks, several of my kids have been working with the online program called IXL. If you have read my blog for a while, you will know that I have not given favorable reviews of a couple of other online programs we’ve tried. But the IXL website –well, we loved it! My kids worked on both IXL Math and IXL Language Arts.
What is IXL?
There is so much there–you’ll really have to head over to the website to see for yourself. It is an online PRACTICE website for grades PreK-12th (up to precalculus) in math and grades 2-8 in language arts. We used it mostly on our computers (both Mac and PC). They also have some apps which work with various tablets. We were able to use it with our iPad 2. (But even if your tablet doesn’t support the app, you might be able to still use IXL with the tablet’s browser–I know a lot of people use it that way.)
IXL is not meant to be used as a class or textbook which teaches the material. The material (math or grammar) should be taught with another curriculum or teacher. Then, you can use IXL to practice those skills!
How We Used the IXL Website
My 7th-grade son usually uses a grammar workbook to practice grammar skills, but he used IXL instead for the last 6 weeks. He mostly focused on vocabulary strategies, such as analogies and suffixes.
My 6th-grade daughter used IXL almost every school day. She used just the language arts section as well, and worked on apostrophes and commas. She found it quite challenging. Here how it works: Each topic starts out pretty easy. Then the level of difficulty increases. The score goes up with each right answer and goes down with a wrong answer. The goal is to get to 100–that will mean that they “mastered” the skill.
In math, the younger kids get a “prize” for mastering the skill. See below where I explain more about that. If they miss a question, there is an explanation about the correct answer and how to do the problem. Some people might use this teaching section as a way to let IXL “teach.” Kids are not only rewarded for how high their score gets or how many topics they master but also how many minutes they spend practicing a skill. This is encouraging for those who are really struggling with a topic–at least they can get a prize for spending more time trying, even if they are having trouble mastering it!
My 2nd-grade son used the 2nd-grade math section, and my 1st-grade daughter used the 1st-grade math section. For both of them, they had to skip around a bit (which is no big deal at all) because they kept getting to a level where it was too difficult because they hadn’t learned it yet. We actually suspended their regular math curriculum for the past 6 weeks so that they could just use IXL. In the future, I will have them use their math curriculum, and then come to IXL to do the extra practice to master each skill.
These same two kids also did some of the lessons using the app on our iPad. They both felt it was easy enough to do it.
Another nice feature on the website is the option to have the questions read aloud for the younger kids. The kids I had use IXL were good readers, but they occasionally clicked on it just for fun. The only negative I have is that sometimes it was difficult to understand what they were saying.
Photos of IXL Website
Now I’ll show you some screenshots so you can get a better idea of how it works.
Here is a grammar question for 6th grade:
These next 3 are parent report pages so you can see how your kids are doing:
Individual Kid Accounts
The kids each have their own individual account because it keeps track of what they have accomplished and reports it to the parent. You’ll also receive emails telling you when your child has accomplished something special like mastering a skill, practicing for an hour, or answering a certain number of questions.
A first-grade math page:
And what happens when they get it correct!
This is a list of the Math page and some of the skills available for practice at each grade level:
This was my daughter’s reward page. On the side, it says that she had earned 29 medals, answered 1,112 questions, practiced for 5 hours 53 minutes, and mastered 28 skills!
How My Kids Liked It
I didn’t have to beg any of my 4 kids to do their IXL work each day. They happily did it! I think it will be hard for my 1st and 2nd graders to go back to their regularly scheduled math next week! I plan to keep my two older kids grammar here at IXL, though!
Four years later, we are still using the IXL website for various kids at various levels and for various subjects. They have added more, such as Spanish, social studies, and science.
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(Disclosure: I received access to the math and language arts portions of IXL in order to honestly review it here.)