When I agreed to this review I thought I knew a lot about IXL. We were not new to the rodeo I thought, because I had used IXL with my oldest Wesley when we were homeschooling in kindergarten and grade 1. We had continue to use it for a while after we went back to public school as a supplement to his schooling.
Wow! I was pleasantly surprised to see all new materials now available. Back when we first used IXL, it was a math only website. I think before we let our subscription expire there were talks about adding Language Arts to the website.
Past IXL Experience
Back then IXL was a fantastic free & paid supplement for
math topics at levels ranging from pre-kindergarten to high school. Users without a paid membership could do up to ten questions a day. I knew families that did just this to make sure their child got a concept they were teaching in their homeschool.
However members can do as many questions as they wish and their results were recorded. The website also directed your child to what areas they should be working on next.
While the website did not actually teach the student how to do the math problems, it did give your child the chance to practice what they have learned. It offered students another medium to use what they had learned that day. We found it also showed us any holes in Wesley’s math education.
What Has Changed Since We Lasted Used IXL?
I’m happy to say the math component we loved is still there, and you can still do ten questions a day for free. But now IXL Learning offers users so much more with their product IXL.
Bundled up into one membership in 2013 IXL Learning added Language Arts. Then in 2015 they expanded with the addition of science and social studies. As of 2017 IXL also offers Intro to Spanish.
I love that whether your are in Canada, UK or the United States, you can look up the grade standards for your state or province. So you can see what students in your child’s grade are working on locally.
I have to say, out of my two children IXL fits Wesley the best. He enjoys the competition of trying to achieve 100%. As a kid who loves his videogames, the idea of collection points is very motivating for him. A few times a week I have had him sit down at the kitchen table to work on the IXL website.
Diagnostic Placement Test
The first time he sat down I had him take the diagnostic placement test which can be found in the tool bar under learning.
He was then brought to a screen that allowed him to pick one of two problems.
From there he worked on the diagnostic section for about 45 mins. By this point I felt he had done enough to get a good feel on what he needed to work on.
How Wesley Actually Uses IXL
The next day I had him come back and select whatever he wanted to work on from the Recommendations tab under learning.
Now 3 to 4 times a week Wesley races the clock. I set a timer for 30 mins, he picks whatever section he wants to out of the Recommendations. He works on that topic until he reaches 100 points or the timer runs out. I love to see him pushing himself. Motivation is sometimes hard for Wesley. However while racing against the clock, I find he is pushing himself.
I also think he likes the fact I let him pick which topic he wants to do out of the Recommendation tab. This put the control in his hands. If he wants to work on Language Art, great! Math? Sure! This Mama doesn’t care, as long as he’s working on something. Both Math & Language Arts are equally important in my mind. Whichever of the two topics peak his interest that day, I know he will do well on.
For my 6 year old first grader we decided to download the IXL App. Zakari does have autism, and while he’s extremely intelligent and has AMAZING gross motor skills, his fine motor skills are lacking. This makes operating a mouse extremely frustrating for him.
On the IXL app, we were able to access Math & Language Arts. Which is fine for us because Science and Social Studies do not start till 2nd grade on IXL, and Zakari is still in the 1st grade.
I have sat down with Zakari several times and we have used the IXL app. However even on the iPad, he struggles selecting the right answer due to his fine motor skills still being a bit immature. He is also not motivated by getting a high score, and the thought of getting to 100 is daunting and at this time unachievable due to his attention span. The app is also not as physically attractive as some of the other learning apps he’s use to using. He still needs a lot of the flash and dazzle to keep him interested.
So right now we are putting IXL away for Zakari for the time being. I know what a valuable tool it can be, and I do not want it becoming aversive to him. We will try again in a year or two when his attention and fine motor skills catch up to his academic level.
I’m so glad that both my boys had the chance to use IXL Learning’s IXL program. It gave me the perfect chance to see how two kids can have completely different experiences with the same program.
Wesley will continue to use the program during the school year a few times a week. So far its great at discovering and closing up gaps. I also plan to use it this summer to prevent the summer slide. Which is even more important now that come September Wesley will be in the 9th grade and a high-schooler.
As for Zakari’s experience, I believe he was just not ready for the program. We will try again in a few years and I’m sure then we will have different results. I know Wesley was very successful with the program when he was younger then Zakari is now. Just each child learns differently. Its great that you can try 10 free questions each day for a few days and get a good feel if the program is a fit for your child.
Thank you so much IXL Learning for giving us the opportunity to use your program.
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