IXL is an online learning program in Math and Language Arts. IXL Math is available in 9 editions/countries, but you can choose the version that will best suit your needs. IXL Language Arts is available in the USA version. My children have been using IXL over the past few weeks and have been very motivated by it!
IXL isn’t meant to be a comprehensive curriculum, but rather it’s to be used as a complimentary online learning program. It won’t teach your children any lessons, but it will give them lots of practice so that they can gain a good foundation of the concepts. As a Canadian ex-pat in the UK and a home educator, I use IXL to see which concepts the children are competent in, and which concepts I should be preparing to teach.
IXL Math (UK) covers the levels Reception to Year 13. Each level has many major areas of practice, and then there are several smaller concepts to choose from within each of these topics. The IXL USA Math covers Kindergarten to Grade 12. IXL Language Arts (USA) covers the grades 2 to 8.
We live in Northern Ireland, and here children start school a year earlier than the rest of the UK and use different grade terminology so I wasn’t quite sure where to begin, but once I figured it out we were on our way. However, in the end it doesn’t really matter as you don’t need to do the sections in any particular order, and your child will be working at their own level anyway.
I love that the IXL Math UK version uses British pounds for its currency so that the children can practice with the currency they’re familiar with in everyday life. In fact, learning about money was Tristan’s favourite part of the entire IXL online learning programs!
How Do We Use IXL Online Learning?
To use IXL, we usually set an alarm for about 10 minutes and Tristan will see how well he can do in that time. If he wants to continue after the time is up, then that’s okay with us! If he wants to stop that concept, then we re-set the timer and he does another 1 to 2 areas of practice, depending on his mood. There’s no sense in him continuing if he’s losing concentration. You don’t need a lot of time to use IXL as your child can pick up where they left off the time before.
There is a timer on the side bar that can help keep your child on-task. Sometimes we use it as a beat-the-clock game. If you find this distracts your child or makes them stressed, you can turn this off in the parent’s dashboard.
IXL isn’t dependant upon sounds, so my children are able to use this online learning program while at the library. If they do need help to listen to the math questions, there is the option to listen click on an icon and hear the question (and each individual answer) read to them. This is only a feature in math, not in the language arts program. I like this feature as it means the kids can feel more independent without having me standing over them to do the equations, and they are less frustrated than if they try to read a difficult question, get the meaning wrong and then come up with an incorrect answer.
It’s nice to be able to have both children working at the same time at the library. One on the pc, and the other on a tablet while I browse the stacks or write a letter. Kallista likes to use Reception level math on the tablet. There are apps available for some platforms, but we use it via the browser.
How Does IXL Online Learning Work?
Children will gain a random number of points if they get a question correct, up until they hit 90 points. Then they will go into the challenge zone and each question is worth 1 point. If your child gets a question wrong, they will lose a random number of points and will have to earn them back again. Up to the 90 point score, your child will receive 3 medals. When they reach 100 points, they will have ‘mastered’ the task and can move on to a new type of question. After mastering a certain number of skills, or completing a number of questions, etc., the children will receive a virtual ‘prize‘. This gives them something to work towards and keeps them going.
When a child gets a question wrong, IXL will immediately let them know what the correct answer is, and why that’s the answer. It’s nice that the children receive such immediate feedback, as well as learning why they were wrong. It helps them have a clearer understanding and they can then apply the insight to the rest of the question
The children and I both love the quick email feedback from IXL. When they reach a milestone I receive an email letting me know that they’ve completed 200 language arts questions, or have spent a total of 2 hours doing math. The emails come complete with a certificate that can be printed out. These keep the children motivated and wanting to do more. Our kitchen wall is quickly filling up with certificates, and they are very proud of their achievements.
Parents will also receive a weekly email from IXL letting them know how many minutes each child has spent practising the previous week, as well as which concepts they have been working on. Their scores are given, as well as being colour-coded for easy reference, they also say if the concept has been mastered, or if more work is needed.
Tristan has also been using the USA IXL Language Arts program (there isn’t one available for the UK, at least not yet). Although there are some spelling differences between the USA and the UK, the basic grammar concepts are the same and I wanted Tristan to have some extra language arts practice. He’s working a grade above, so he hasn’t learned a lot of the concepts yet, but over the course of the next year, I’ll be introducing them and he’ll be able to practice along as he learns. Knowing what he should be learning will help me to plan ahead, which gives me some structure.
What Do The Kids Think?
Last week Kallista was watching Tristan while he was working on IXL and she came running into the kitchen with a big smile announcing, “Tristan’s in the challenge zone!” A few minutes later she ran back in again, “He met the challenge! I’m so proud of him!” What a great thing for her to say and a beautiful ending to the “school” day.
If you’d like to see if IXL online learning is right for your child, they can do up to 20 questions a day (with both math and language arts) without a membership. Tristan has also used this option when we were at the library and forgot to bring our passwords with us. Tristan was frustrated because he was so close to getting his gold medal and had to stop and begin again at home. We now have the passwords kept with our library cards so we’ll always have them with us!
If you’d like a membership to USA IXL Math, it is $ 9.95/month or $79.00. If you’d like both the USA Math and Language Arts, they are a total of $129.00/year. Additional students are $2.00/month or $20.00/year each. UK IXL is £7.99/month or £59.00/year with each additional student an extra £20/year.
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