Wednesday, November 12, 2014

IXL Schoolhouse Review Crew Review 2014 #hsmommas #hsreviews

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       Do you have more than one child that you homeschool? Does a child in your homeschool struggle with Math or Language Arts or strives to work harder with small, fun, positive reinforcements? If you have answered yes to any of these questions then this may be the review for you. Schoolhouse Review Crew members were given a one year subscription for a family membership for IXL. There is online Math that is a great subsidy to any core Math curriculum. IXL is designed to offer state standards and common core aligned math practice skills for grades PreK-12  and comes packed full of practice drills and gives positive reinforcement to children with virtual rewards that you can print out and save for your child. They have also have added grades to their online Language Arts making it now for grades 2nd-8th grades and additional grades up to 10th grade coming soon. A subscription to IXL is $9.95 for math only, $9.95 for language arts only, or $15.95 a month for both. If you purchase a yearly subscription it is $79.00 for either math or language arts, and $129.00 a year for both subjects. Each additional child is only $2 per month, or $20 per year.There are additional options for pricing as well. You can see them all when you visit IXL.COM

  After you create your parent account you can add your students, here you can pick an avatar for each user and a secret code word for them to use when they login to their account. Everything is done from the main account and then each user whether it be student or teacher has a secret code word to access their specific area. The iPad app which I will be using screen shots from for purpose of showing how this all works automatically takes you to this page to then pick which user is logging in and then putting in their secret word.

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         Taylor has always struggled with Math, while Math comes somewhat easy to his older siblings. We are always changing things up for Taylor to keep him motivated and so he does not get bored. I think this is why he struggled more with Math in public school, everything was always the same. Changing things for him has helped tremendously. We have found his core Math curriculum that is working and I always say if it is not broke don't fix it. However we are always looking for add on programs to help with drills and memorization. Taylor has trouble conquering core concepts and we need to be constantly working on keeping the facts fresh in his mind but at the same time we try to keep it light and fun. IXL does just that with fun graphics and virtual rewards that I can print out and put in Taylor's portfolio. He just beams with pride when given small rewards for his efforts and a program that can aid in making learning stress free and fun earns an A+ in my book.

 The new Apps, Android or iOS that come with your subscription really helped bring learning on the go. So you can definitely make learning as portable as possible.  Programs like IXL are just the kind of Math that helps build on concepts that the kids learn with their core curriculum. I had Taylor focus on Consumer Math, which is a concept he struggles with. You know the kind. how much money do I need if I want to buy a pizza and a pop. I just want him to be able to really grasp these concepts without having to put much thought into it. Programs like IXL help keep these math concepts in the front of Taylor's brain while not bogging down our class time going over it over and over. IXL allows us to move forward with our main math curriculum while Taylor gets practice on things he has already learned but needs to master. IXL can be done anytime Taylor has free time, whether it is at night or in the car with the iPad. 20 minutes a day is really all it takes. A few days a week or everyday. The positive reinforcements help keep him motivated to keep plugging along.

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Taylor likes how you can work out the problem right on the screen using some writing and erasing tools.

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  We started with 8th grade Math for Taylor and used some Algebra I as well,  while he is in 10th grade and we are working on 10th grade math in our core math class I wanted him to feel successful and to gain mastery not frustration. He has the ability to move up or down in grade levels and concepts as he gains confidence and mastery. This makes IXL the perfect add on program as it grows with your children.  The program gains a feel for where your child has strengths and weaknesses. I do not have to do anything except check his progress from the parent portal.

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Taylor enjoyed getting his virtual rewards and I was pleased with being able to log on and see at any point how his progress was improving and with weekly emails I felt I was always in the know with how he was doing. This is a win win situation for our homeschool.
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   Alyx is blessed to have Math come pretty easy to him and as an 11th grader is working at or above grade level in his Math. I was pleased to see that IXL had stepped up their programming to reach far into 12th grade, where they used to stop Algebra II, they now go into Pre Calculus.  He did however focus on Geometry for the most part since that is what he is working on this year as well as Algebra II, this helped to fill in some gaps where maybe he did not have complete mastery of what he has been learning in his core math program. This made it enjoyable for Alyx not to work below his capabilities but to push himself a little farther. He likes to be challenged opposite of Taylor who likes it as stress free as possible. Alyx is not as hard to motivate so the things that Taylor likes about IXL do not really impress Alyx. He however does like how he can move through the system at his own pace and his work continual gets harder as he masters sections. This is motivation enough for him. Alyx was impressed with the improvements that have been made to the program as well as the ease of use of the iPad App. He likes being able to work on programs like this at all hours of the day and evening. He is a night owl and works well late at night. This is a valuable tool for night time learning.
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   Alyx liked working the sections on Hypothesis and Conclusions...
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  When they get the problem right they move onto the next problem, but when they get it right they are given not only the right answer but why the answer is what it is. This is very helpful for the boys to learn from their mistakes.
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   So you see IXL is great for students on all skill levels whether they need to drill the skills their core curriculum has taught them or if they want to push themselves out of their comfort zones. While this program is truly not meant to teach but to be an add on to your core math program, your students can push further into higher levels like Alyx and if they have their basic concepts could quite easily accomplish some of the higher levels. The only frustration Alyx had by moving ahead into territories he was not fully confident in, when you get several problems wrong, the program senses that and gives you more problems before you can complete the section.

  We did not use the Language Arts area of IXL as my boys are well past their reach of 2-8 grades, I did glance at it and I think it would be beneficial for students in those grade ranges, or if you have a child older that may struggle in the Language Arts areas. So be sure to check out the other crew reviews to learn more about the IXL Language Arts.

   IXL makes it easy to be in the know at all times for both the student and the parent by always keeping up with the progress of the student. I also thought that not having to pinpoint ahead of time the level that your child is on and being able to try out all levels to find the prefect fit for them. Most companies make you pick the level upon signing up and IXL does not do that all levels Pre-K through 12th are available to you at all times. You can chose 2 different subscription options at sign up. You can pay by the month, for instance if you just want to use it for the Summer as a refresher course or a whole year, like we received.  While we are using the higher Middle School areas and  High School areas of  IXL many of the crew members have kids at all different levels, be sure to check out their reviews to see what they thought and how they used IXL in their homeschool.
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