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Monday, November 10, 2014

Review–IXL (TOS Review)

Christmas Book Review
We were really excited to be able to review IXL again this year.  We took another look at the IXL Language Arts and IXL Math programs.  We used both our PC and the iOS app on the iPad for this review.
Initially the Language Arts program was only available via PC, BUT at the end of the review period it popped up on the iOS app as well (a very pleasant surprise!).
My 8yo (3rd grade) used both programs 3-4times a week, while my 3 and 5yos used the Math program only sporadically.  We have mixed feelings on the program….mostly the feature that is not liked across the board is not knowing how many problems are left before the exercise is complete.  This is the case mainly because the more you get wrong, the more you have to do.  This is frustrating for my kids, my oldest however is able to work with it (for the most part).  The timer seems to be a distraction for him as well.  He is constantly fixated on how much time he has spent, what his score is and becomes devastated each time he misses a problem and his score goes down.  Now this can be a good thing or a bad thing, it really just depends on his mood.  If he is in a good mood, it all serves as a motivation factor, which is great!!
Screenshot 2014-11-10 20.37.38
My 5yo and 3yo feel the same way about not know ‘how much longer’.  But all in all this is their ONLY complaint about the program.  It is not a bells and whistles application (which I am sure I mentioned last time), so they do find it slightly boring as well. 

It is also important to make note that this is NOT a teaching application, this is a REVIEW application.  This program is designed to REVIEW concepts that have already been taught.  Therefore this is a SUPPLEMENT, not a stand alone curriculum.  It does point out WHY an answer is wrong and give some review instruction when something is missed, but it does not TEACH concepts. 
Screenshot 2014-11-10 20.37.25
Since my last review, there have been several improvements made to the program which were definitely improvements! 
The first is that for the younger grades the questions and answers now have read aloud feature!  Previously I had to sit with my younger kids and read each problem and answer and be with them the entire time they used the program.  In a larger homeschool family it’s not always easy to do this.  Having the ability to have the questions and answers READ ALOUD is a HUGE PLUS!!  It is also available as an option for older grades too!  This feature is on both the PC and iOS versions. 
And the second was already mentioned – Language Arts is now available on the iOS app along with Math!  This is great!!
Their report page seems to be more detailed than before as well, though I may be just paying more attention to that detail this time around.  You can print a report showing the concepts they have done, their scores, a bar graph showing how much time they have spent on the program and circle graphs showing time spent as well.  It’s just one of several various report features available.  It was handy to print and include in our portfolio for an upcoming homeschool review board.
Screenshot 2014-11-10 20.53.45
The one thing I wish it had was a way to ASSIGN specific tasks.  There is a parent feature page, but all you can really do is view reports (which you can also do under the specific child’s page). 
This really is a great program for reinforcing learned tasks and reviewing.  It has Math from PreK to 12th grade and Language Arts from 2nd-8th grade.  Pricing for family memberships starts at just $9.95/month or $79/year for one subject. Each additional child costs $2/month or $20/year. So an annual subscription for one child for math is $79; for math AND Language Arts, it would be $129.  For two children for math, it is $99 for the year; for math and language arts, it would be $149 and so on. For more information or to purchase a family membership, go to www.ixl.com/membership/family/pricing, and select your preferred membership option to view pricing details.
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