Home Education~Ministry Moments~Hearth and Home

Monday, November 10, 2014

TOS Review: IXL: Math and Language Arts

Christmas Book Review

  Have you ever had those times during your homeschool day when you are not able to give your attention to "school" like you would like because of life happenings?  (If you're like me, this happens daily!)  For times like these, IXL Math and Language Arts can come to the rescue!  We have used IXL for the past year.  We have used both the math and language arts, but mainly the math program. 
      I have found the two best ways to learn a concept is through repetition and making a game out of it. IXL.com does both.  IXL is a computer program where your child(ren) can practice math or language arts skills.  Their motto is: "Practice that feels like play."
     My 8th grader and my 10th grader have used the program to fill in gaps and give practice towards their math and language arts skills.  Most recently, my son used it to review his Algebra 1 skills before moving on to Algebra 2.  It was a lot more fun than paper work! Since we used IXL mostly for math, that will be the main perspective from which I give this review.

How it works: 
     Like most online programs, the first matter of business is to establish a password and user name.  The parent does this along with creating a student profile.  You can even choose a fun icon that your child will like. 
     After the proper icon is clicked, a screen will appear with choices from kindergarten through Pre- Calculus.  Your child will click on the grade level s/he wants to practice on.  This will take them to another screen where all the skills are listed for that grade level.   The skills are grouped together accordingly.  (i.e. Percent skills are listed altogether.)  Your child can then click on the skill that they want to work on (or that you assign them).  When your child is choosing from this list, they will be able to see which skills they have mastered (There will be a gold ribbon beside the skill.) and what score they have so far.  This makes for easier selection.  
     Once a skill is selected, the practice begins!  The questions begin very simply, then get tougher as you move through. The questions are asked a variety of different ways to help insure mastery.  (For example: One problem may ask which numbers are prime, while another may ask which are not composite.) If your child gets an answer correct, the IXL program gives immediate feedback by saying on the screen, Fantastic!, Correct!, You Got it! or some other encouraging words. There are many other motivators, like watching your "smart score" getting closer and closer to the desired "100."  If  a question is missed, your score goes down several points, and you back up and have to answer several more "review" questions before moving ahead in your score.  Your student will also be given an explanation as to why they missed the problem.  Once you reach a score of "100" you will get a "well done" on the screen and a message that you have mastered the skill and that you have been awarded a gold medal.  You can then take a break, or continue practicing.  The whole process is very simple and straightforward. Not a lot of bells and whistles...just what's necessary. (But visually appealing!)

The Parent Connection:
     One of my favorite things about using IXL is the updates I get each week.  I get an email when my sons have completed 100 math problems.  I get a weekly email update letting me know the skills they are working on, their proficiency and how much time they has spent working on problems.
     The amount of time required for mom varies with each child and with each level.  For my teenage boys, very little is needed from me. I just usually assign that they master 3 categories.  Unless they get stuck or frustrated, they are able to work very independently with very little assistance from mom.  

Membership Costs:
Monthly: $9.95/one subject (Math or Language Arts) or $15.95/both subjects
Yearly:   $79/one subject or $129/both subjects

IXL Mobile APPS! 
Go HERE to find out more about IXL apps for iPad, Android and Kindle.


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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Blog Post Find of the Day...."How to Get More Out of the Preached Word of God"

     About a year or so ago, I had the title written for a blog post: "4 Ways to Hear a Better Sermon Every Sunday."  I never finished it.  I guess I worried about sounding too "preachy" as the pastor's wife.  Today I read this great blog post, "How to Get More Out of the Preached Word of God" by Shane Garrison. He said all that I wanted to say, plus a little more...and way more eloquently.  (Though I would add, "Pray for your Pastor.") Check it out....and see if you get more out of this Sunday's sermon this week!