A Great Math Resource, IXL.com

The Time4Learning curriculum has been a fantastic program to use as part of homeschooling Kindergarten. My daughter and I love it. However, after finishing the math curriculum for Kindergarten and a few workbooks, I still was not convinced that my daughter had “mastered” all of the math skills that she had learned. I had plenty of books she enjoyed for her practice reading, but I was sorely lacking extra, engaging math problems. Thus, I started a search for another resource.

When I was searching for curriculum before starting home schooling, I discovered a program called IXL. Although I thought it was a good math program at the time, it was not the general curriculum program needed at the time. However, I did bookmark it just in case…boy, am I glad I did.
It was just what we needed.

What is IXL?
IXL is a web-based math practice site for students in Pre-K through 8th grade. (Their site says they are going to add more advanced math for the high school grade levels as well). The practice is designed to help meet a child’s individual state standards for each grade level. IXL provides the common core state standards as well as individual state standards. This makes it great practice for standardized testing…yes, many of us home schooling still must deal with standardized testing.

What I really like about IXL:

  • Skills are specifically lined to the state standards of all 50 states.
  • Clearly defined learning objectives.
  • Encourages students to participate through rewarding performance with medals, awards and even printable certificates along the way.
  • Comprehensive, detailed reports for the teacher and/or parent that track  progress in real time.  Reports are even given for areas needing work as well as progress.
  • Cost: A very reasonable $9.95 per month or $79 a year for the home schooling or supplementing parent. (There is a $2 per month or $20 a year additional fee for each additional child). The cost seems even more reasonable after pricing many books and other curriculum that provide a limited number of questions.
  • Unlimited amount of practice.
  • Questions adapt with student’s ability.
  • “Mastery” does not come until a student has answered many questions practicing a given skill.  Although  a 100 “Smartscore” is needed to achieve all skills, the program adjusts the score if a student misses a questions, thus giving the student more practice.
  • Can practice before any purchase.
  • Access to other state standards – not just the state you live in.
  • Audio available for Pre-K through Grade 1 practices.
  • Standardizing testing prep.

What IXL does not do:

  • Teach the math concepts.  Okay, it does teach by allowing the students to practice and adjusting the questions to their skill level, but it does not explain the concepts behind the problems.  It is simply not what this program is about.  You need other resources to teach the concepts.
  • Have a strong audible interface.  The Pre-K through grade 1 student must click on a speaker icon to have each question read.  Although this is easily done by my Kindergarten student and allows for better individualized pacing, it is not the most user friendly icon and position for students working solo, i.e. a multiple student classroom. I think it would be easier if  a student was able to click the speaker or the question in order to hear it.

I am now confident in my daughter’s “mastery” of  the math skills that she has covered in our home schooling.  The added practice has just reinforced those skills. Also,  I have more reports from another web-based program to add to her portfolio.  However, the biggest bonus may just be that she loves doing the practices 🙂

This is a fantastic program for students of all grade and skill levels to practice their math skills.  If you are considering using it, I would suggest doing some and having your student(s) do some of the practice questions for free before buying then purchase a single month to make sure this program is a good fit for your needs and expectations.  If you want to continue, the yearly rate is by far the best value.


Disclaimer:  The opinions and experiences expressed hear are just my own.  I have not been solicited or compensated by IXL for this article.