IXL.com - TOS Review

Friday, November 8, 2013

With the very best of intentions I have taught my children diligently through their various maths curriculum this year.  As the year comes to an end however I am left with the inevitable question of how much have they really understood? It's easy to ensure that the children understand their current topic being studied and a good maths program will enable them to have enough practice that they will not forget the particular skills, but unfortunately not all curriculum is the same quality & students will often miss particular areas & consequently often struggle in this area for their life.  To ensure this doesn't happen diligent parents will find ways of identifying problem areas & working with the student to understand the topic.  I was delighted when I was asked to review a wonderful tool to help parents with this arduous task.  The Online Math Membership from IXL.com has added an additional dimension to our homeschool maths lessons & has allowed me the chance to observe each child's actual maths skills. (For US users a Language Arts Membership is also available for 2nd to 4th grade).

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When you log into IXL.com's Online Math Membership you will find that it will give you different content depending upon which country you are from ( this happens automatically).  For this review I am referring to the Australian content which is geared to the Australian National Curriculum.

The Online Math Membership from IXL.com is a complimentary maths program that works alongside your children's maths texts to give the child sufficient practice to ensure mastery of a particular maths skill.  The Australian Maths Membership gives the student access to questions covering  the National Mathematics Curriculum content for preschool to grade 11.  There are 29 different topics covered within the skill areas.  Each grade is separated into skill areas the student should have mastered by the end of that particular grade. These adhere to that particular grade's level standard.   There are up to 310 skills to learn depending on the grade.    IXL.com's Online Math Membership gives the child additional practice of the skills they should have already learnt or are currently learning & allows the parent or teacher to quickly assess areas where the child needs additional help.
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The questions presented within IXL.com are engaging & fun for the student, eliminating the hard drudge that maths can quickly fall into.  They are geared for different types of learners so all students will benefit from it's use.  The program adapts the questions to allow the student to work at their own level within the grade.  If they require more practice, it will provide this.  As the student works, they earn points depending upon how many questions they answer correctly.  When they have earned 100 points they receive a reward.  If they answer incorrectly points are deducted from their total.  They must then complete additional questions to receive their reward.   The student is also rewarded for the total time they have spent using the program. Certificates & Rewards are also given as motivation for different predetermined achievements. Notifications are sent to the parent's email when the student answers a particular number of questions of spends a noticeable amount of time on IXL.com.   This enables the parent to see exactly what the student has completed.  In addition a weekly email of the student's usage is sent with records of their scores so the parent can ascertain whether the student has sufficient knowledge in their skill areas.

Some of the Year 5 skills

We have used our Online Math Membership from IXL.com daily in addition to our normal maths curriculum.  I was given 3 children's memberships for this review.  I tried to align the topic that each child was practising on IXL.com with the topic they were currently studying in their maths books.  I was able to load the IXL.com  Ipad app onto our Ipad so that the program could be used by multiple users at once.  All my children enjoyed using this program.  We found that the questions presented were topical & relevant to the areas the student were studying.  One reason I am using this program with my children is to ensure that mastery of their mathematics work & all relevant learning outcomes has taken place over the past year of learning.  Where I feel additional work is required I can then include that into their learning program.  I am also using IXL.com in particular for one of my children to ascertain their current (true) grade level to ensure that they are completely ready to move onto the next grade in the new year in mathematics (one bonus of homeschooling is that we can work across stages or grades for different subjects). I will use the results of their IXL.com work to decide this child's learning path for next year.   
A sample Year 4 question
All my children enjoyed trying to build their points levels on IXL.com as quickly as possible.  They were quite disappointed when they lost points due to incorrect answers.  I did have to be firm to remind them to stay on their particular grade level as each child has access to all grades (this allows students to go right back to basics if required).  I also made sure I had chosen the topic I wanted them to complete each day  during my weekly planning time otherwise they would choose to complete the easier topics to build their points.  Once they had completed their allotted topics they were free to choose other areas to work in. I have found IXL.com adds another dimension to their maths program which helps me know they are really learning a topic.  With the introduction of the National Curriculum & the consequential uncertainty that comes with it, I am happy to have found a program that is perfectly aligned with the learning outcomes & that sends me the details of each student's performance to make my record keeping easy.

The Online Math  Membership is available from IXL.com for $9.95/month (A$) or $79/year.  Additional students may be added for $2/month or $20/year. 
For additional reviews from a variety of countries please visit my fellow crew members:

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