Wednesday, November 6, 2013

TOS Review:

We’ve all heard the old adage that “practice makes perfect.” I’m afraid that I have been guilty of trying just to move onto the next subject, unit or chapter…not giving Josiah enough opportunity just to practice those basic skills.

I was given the opportunity to review It is a website that “provides “comprehensive standards-aligned math and language arts practice for K-12.” 

I love using the computer as part of our homeschool. My “hands on”/visual learner seems to thrive when he can engage more than just his pencil.

What I Received
I received a one-year membership to This included full access to ALL grade levels. Whatever they have on the website, I got to check out. 

IXL Math includes Pre-K-12. The language arts portion (IXL Language Arts) currently over covers grades 2-4. 

At present, there are a couple of different subscription options for IXL. 
Monthly: $9.95 for Language Arts or Math or $15.95 for both. Each additional student is $2.
Yearly: $79.00 for Language Arts or Math or $129.000 for both. Additional students are $20.00 each. 
How It Works is not a teaching program. It is specifically designed for practice. For those of you who have younger children (or slow readers) the audio is only available for Pre-K through 1st grade. So if you are hoping to encourage independent learning you might need to take into account your child’s reading level. 
Currently, there are plans in the works to add more subjects. They have also just released Geometry and Algebra II portions for High School. 
As a parent, you simply choose the “skill” of the day. The student answers the questions until he or she has mastered that skill. 
One of the big bonuses are the Reports you receive. I almost cried the day I got the email that my child had answered 500 math problems correctly. I knew he was cruising, but he was doing so without my help! 
I had to share a screenshot of this report. This report reveals “Trouble Spots.” Ruh-Roh! Momma will always find out! 

This is a picture from one of his “report cards.” I mean really. Who doesn’t appreciate  a good pie chart?

How We Used It
First, I set Josiah his own account. He is presently 6th grade. He is also dyslexic so I was curious to see how he would respond to the Language Arts program. It is only for 2nd-4th grade currently, but I always love to present him with the opportunity for more practice…especially on the computer. It doesn’t seem quite as painful for him.
He also used the math portion daily, but I will start with his Language Arts adventures first.
There are 111 4th grade skills to be mastered. Needless to say, Josiah hasn’t had a chance to master all of them at IXL!
Each level of the Language Arts section is divided into smaller sections (the math is set up this way too). Josiah worked in order and each completed section appeared with a little gold medal right beside it. However, you can choose to wander the site as you please. If you want to challenge your child with a more advanced skill you are allowed to so do.

This is how a question will appear on the screen. This one is asking Josiah to identify the predicate. I have purposefully clicked on the wrong answer so you can see what happens next. (And yes! I know my subjects from my predicates!)

 Sorry, incorrect. Notice how it then gives you a brief explanation. Over to the right you can see a small green box. It says, "Got it." Click it and you are allowed to move on to the next questions.

One of the things I really liked is that he could go back and practice any completed section. It didn’t force him to move on. ‘Cause maybe Momma wanted him to practice his suffixes as little more!
I had Josiah practice the math portion of almost every day. The beauty about this program is that I could have him practice any grade level or skill I wanted him to. In fact, he spent a good time working on telling time. Clock face after clock face. One thing folks might not think about it is that it takes a dyslexic child a little longer to learn how to tell time on a traditional clock face. gave Josiah countless opportunities to practice.
Something else I found to be very helpful to Josiah was that only one problem or question presented itself at a time on the screen. He wasn’t distracted by a page full of other problems or busy characters. There was also immediate feedback.
If he answered the question correctly, he got to move on (after an encouraging word). If he didn’t answer it correctly, a box with the write answer showed up with an explanation.
He also earned gold medals and got to uncover virtual prizes. He was more about trying not to go backwards in his points! Every time he got one wrong he lost points. More problems would then be added to his workload. He was sure motivate not to rush through!
My Thoughts
This is the kind of practice that Josiah needs. I didn’t have to worry about him skipping problems on a worksheet or skipping sentences because of a cluttered page. He became more confident in his skills. I honestly didn’t expect to love the program as much as I did. is a keeper!
Read more reviews at the Crew Blog!


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