Is it possible to be a dedicated homeschooling mom while still making time for myself as an individual (a girlie girl who likes cute shoes)? I like to think so. Follow along, and I'll let you know for sure.

Trust me . . . it's not ALL about the shoes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

IXL Math Practice Site

Both my kids love online learning, and I'm a fan of whatever works. With Noah's blossoming interest in math, I was thrilled to learn about the math practice site, IXL.

Try up to 20 problems a day for free, or purchase a membership (very reasonable at $79/year for one child or $99/year for two) for unlimited use. We started with freebies, but my kids were so hooked there was no doubt that we were headed for a paid membership. Hooked is good when it comes to math, right?

We're still getting the hang of it, but here's what we like about the site so far:
  • It is the ultimate in user-friendly; activities are grouped by grade level, then broken down by skill. Within each skill, it lists each activity in order and lets you mouse over each one for a preview of what a problem would look like.
  • It's completely self-guided. Follow the sequence, skip around . . . whatever you like. Practice for five minutes or an hour. I love the flexibility to fit a few minutes in on a busy day or practice for a longer period of time to reinforce something we've just learned.
  • The reward system is really simple, but for some reason, my kids really dig it. As you progress towards a score of 100 (completion), you earn three little ribbons, which are displayed under your score. After completing each activity, it will notify you if you've earned any rewards. I haven't cracked the code yet, but these seem to be given for meeting certain criteria for time practiced, skills mastered and questions answered. The "reward" is getting to turn over a piece on the game board to claim a virtual prize. Doesn't seem all that exciting to me, but like I said, the kids LOVE it.
  • I've been working with the kids as they get accustomed to the site, but I'm hoping that Noah will be able to practice independently at some point. Which brings me to point #4. With membership, they e-mail periodic parent updates detailing how long the kids have practiced and what skills they have been working on.
Because the kids learn so well from the computer, I've looked into quite a few online learning sites. With its excellent content, user-friendly format and kid-friendly reward system, this is the first paid site I've felt to be worthwhile.

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