Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Schoolhouse Review- IXL Math

Need some practice in math?  Need to see where exactly your child is in math?  Need a great Math review site?  IXL Math may be for you!  We have had the privilege of using this program for several weeks and have already seen where we excel and the math skills we need to work on over the summer. 

IXL is an Internet based program geared towards brushing up on and improving your math skills from preschool level to Algebra, with new levels soon to come. One of the great things about this program is once you subscribe, you have access to all of the levels; a bonus if your child needs a quick refresher at an easier level, or is ready to be challenged at a higher level, or if you have multiple children working on the program. When you begin this program you set up "accounts" for each of your children and even one for yourself. The kids enjoyed this part, as they could choose an icon that suited them- from a child's face to animals. Loved this especially for the five year old who then knew exactly which icon was his!

 Once on your level, you can choose a skill to work on and then begin! While IXL does not teach the concept, if you get a problem wrong you can choose the option to be shown how to correctly work it. Each time you get an answer right your percentage score goes up, if you miss a problem your score goes down. You work until you get 100% and have "mastered" that skill. While my 5 year old never paid attention to the score, the older two did get a little frustrated when their score went down, resulting in longer practice times. On the other hand, it was a good learning lesson to pay attention and not make careless mistakes, either in working the problem or simply entering the wrong answer! On average, my 5 year old could go through a skill in about 5-10 minutes. It took the older two anywhere from 15-30 minutes to complete a skill.

A fun part of the program is that you can earn prizes- stickers on a chart, as well as achievement badges.  While this was not an incentive for my 5th and 9th graders, my five year old loved it.  The fifth grader finally got in the act by making up a silly story about all his stickers.  Hey, if it works!

Another part I love about this program is that it is very mom friendly!  From your icon, you can access reports of your children showing what they have done, how long they worked, etc.  In addition, in case you forget to check or simply do not have the time, progress reports for each child are emailed to you weekly!  LOVE THAT!  In a glance I could see who had practiced, for how long, what skills they had worked on and what they had done!  To me, that is worth its weight in gold!  Also on the web site are each state's standards so you can keep up with how your child compares, if you wish to do so.

A few things to consider-
-This is more of a review program, not a full teaching curriculum.
-At this time, there seems to be no way to mark your spot.  Once you enter your child's screen, you will have to find the chapter you are currently on.  For my older children, this was not an issue, especially since they chose to jump around in the chapters.  For the youngest, I had to help him get started and then he was off!
-If your child does not read, there is a speaker icon for the younger grades that reads the problems, allowing them to work more independently.  My only concern is that it speaks rather fast and sometimes we had to replay it several times before my child could understand what it said.
-There is no fancy music or sounds!  This seemed to turn my auditory learner off a little, but he adjusted.  I reminded him we were not doing the program to be entertained.

Bottom line- As a parent, I really liked this program!  While the kids were not highly entertained by it at times, they have had a great review of math by using it.  We will definitely continue to use this, especially for the Kindergartner!  He asked to do his math several times a day.  I encourage you to check it out!

You can subscribe to IXL Math month to month or join for the year by clicking here.

Disclaimer- I was given a free 6 month subscription in exchange for my honest review of this product.  The views expressed are my own and were not influenced by the company in any way.

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