Tag Archives: education

Middle School Plans 2019-2020 (8th Grade)

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Middle School Classes - 8th Grade classes

Miss L is in 8th grade this year and we have struggled to figure out what materials would be best for her. Her interest lies strongly in dance and many new opportunities have come her way this year due to her hard work last year and through the summer. We know that she needs to have a good strong foundation in all areas of education and are trying to set her up for success in all areas.

The plan is slowly taking form. Here is what we have at this time.

Math – CTCMath – This has short but helpful lessons that Miss L can handle them well. She is learning and doesn’t mind the lessons. Between the videos, the online questions, and the worksheets, she is doing well. You can read our CTCMath review that we posted recently if you want to know more.

Language Arts/Literature – Grammar is going to be Easy Grammar Lessons. This is a 5 minute daily review of grammar, punctuation, and other grammar needs. For writing, she will continue with Jump In. We posted a review on it last spring. Literature will be a continuation of the poetry study she was using at the end of last spring from Memoria Press.

History – We reviewed a study from Memoria Press a few years ago titled Famous Men of Rome. Miss L will begin this study that consists of the people that are part of the history and legends of Rome.

Science – This is where we are really struggling. Her true desire is to have a study that resembles the style of learning that she did when she used Something’s Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha a while back. She wants to have mysteries to solve or figure out while having to learn bits of different types of science to gain the information she needs to find the solution. This is extremely hard to find and, honestly, her brain is far beyond mine in this realm so I can’t figure out how to write it. We were talking last night and perhaps she will actually write her own, making the writing of it her education. Until we settle that part of it, she is going to be using a book we found at the local educational retailer – Forensic Investigation: Using Science to Solve Crimes. It is published by Mark Twain Media/Carson-Dellosa Publishing. It will only take her a couple of months, at the most, to complete.

PE/Art – This is going to be dance. She has about 10 hours of dance a week scheduled between her classes and her work as a student assistant. Once in a while, I hope she will join me in creating a piece of visual art, as I am really enjoying my current subscription to Creating A Masterpiece’s drawing lessons. These are a new set of lessons available and will be sharing a review of them soon. (This link is to a previous review of their art lessons from a couple of years ago.)

Music – She will continue her study of violin and will be taking private lessons this year.

Those are the plans for 8th grade. It will be a lovely year for her! Do you have an 8th grader or middle school student? I would enjoy hearing what you are using. Feel free to share your plans in the comments.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a fabulous resource that we turn to often for supplementing our courses or finding new areas of interest. From full classes to supplements, there is something here for students of every age and one subscription is usable for the entire family. Click on the image to head over to SchoolhouseTeachers.com to learn more.

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Middle School Classes -8th Grade

Life Skills Are What, Exactly? ~ Not Back to School Blog Hop

Life Skills are What Exactly

We have chatted about the WHY of teaching life skills and some ideas about how to be intentional about life skills. Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty –

What exactly are “life skills”?

To be as simple as possible – the skills needed to live life.

Now simplicity is often good but in this case, it is too vague for me. So, let talk.

The skills can be broken down into areas or topics, if you feel you need a check list. I have seen an excellent lists, broken down by age appropriateness, followed by skill types: practical skills and personal/interpersonal skills. I have seen random lists with life skills listed (think 40 things to know before you turn 18). I have seen the question asked on social media with everyone chiming in their own thoughts. Any of these ways work!

Let me share my thoughts on skills, as they are coming out today. (Note: this is today; tomorrow may very well create a different list or new ideas. That is a beautiful thing about life skills – that list can grow and change and be personal.)

PRACTICAL SKILLS:

  • anything related to cooking: the actual cooking and baking, reading a recipe, measuring, taste testing, serving, setting the table (formal and informal), menu planning, grocery shopping, grocery budgeting, canning, preserving food,
  • anything related to house keeping: laundry (sort, wash, dry, fold, put away, iron, hang), dusting, picking up, caring for and repairing furniture, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, gift planning/shopping/wrapping, budgeting, bills, cleaning the bathrooms, doing the dishes,
  • anything related to the outside care of the home: mowing, edging, caring for and repairing the mower or other tools, plant care, gardening, planning the garden and learning what will grow, purchasing and planting, fence care, fence repair, vehicle care and maintenance, vehicle repair (not even just doing it yourself but knowing where and when to take it in), painting,
  • anything related to the long-term maintenance of the home: changing air filters, having the AC/heat unit checked and maintained, painting, taking care of the foundation (in Texas during the heat we have to make sure the foundation has plenty of moisture around it or we get cracks in the foundation)
  • anything related finances: writing checks, maintaining a checking balance, obtaining and using a credit card, bills, setting up utilities, investing, choosing a bank or investment company, saving money, “rainy day” funds, getting the cars inspected and registered
  • anything related to health care and insurance: finding a company for health and for car insurance, knowing how to read the statements, knowing what you have to pay for and what is covered, dealing with things like prescriptions or doctor visits, dealing with auto insurance claims
  • I am sure there are plenty of categories and items that I haven’t listed out here. But this list could be humongous if I wrote out every item.

PERSONAL/INTERPERSONAL SKILLS

These are quite a bit harder to put into categories or like items. For me, it includes things like keeping your temper, speaking kindly, helping others, and such. This includes writing thank you notes, writing invitations, being responsible for personal items, personal care, and interacting with older adults. This could be done through something like taking a meal to a family or serving with Meals on Wheels, volunteering at a library or teaching a class. Taking the initiative to make sure others in the youth group know about an activity you think they would enjoy attending is another way you might see this growth happening. You might see your child talking to the visitor at church or introducing themselves to a child who looks lonely at the park.

Do _life_ with your child

Not long after I decided on my topic for this blog hop, my friend Brenna Rhodes gave a talk at church about what her family calls Real Life University. Guess what it was about? Yep, this – life skills. She had a great list of what they expect their kids to know and learn and some great tips. It was just the encouragement I needed for this series. And, yes, she gave me permission to quote her and share some of her ideas. One of the things that she said that I really liked was this:

Develop every talent God gave them to the best of your ability. Do not “put them in a box.” 

So I need to ask myself – am I doing this? Am I helping my children develop EVERY ability God gave them? Am I passing along the wisdom and skills they need as adults? This is how they will grow to be great spiritual warriors and servants in God’s kingdom so I certainly need to be.

I have found that the more I look for ways to see these life skills being learned, the more I notice. They are everywhere and often happen naturally. I am working on being more purposeful with the documenting of these skills and will share more on that tomorrow.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about the ideas, tips, and encouragement you will find from all the other bloggers who are participating in this week’s NOT Back to School Blog Hop. Below are some links to their blogs but if you want their post from today, click on the image above to get the link up for today.

CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

Chareen @ Every Bed of RosesABC of Homeschooling

Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day

Erin @ For Him and My Family Large Family Homeschooling

Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens Learning Life Skills

Monique @ Mountain of Grace HomeschoolingHomeschooling the High School Years

Monique D. @ Early Learning MomHomeschooling With Autism

Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling

Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool5 Days of Homeschool Questions

Amy @ the WRITE BalanceYear-Round Schooling

Annette @ A Net in TimeHomeschooling.

Betty @ Lets Get RealHomeschooling High School

Cassandra @ My Blessed MessEclectic Homeschooling

Kimberley @ Vintage Blue SuitcaseRoadschooling with a Teenager

Yvonne @ The Life We Build5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling

Destiny @ Some Call It DestinyEncouragement for the Homeschooling Mom

Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together –  A Peek into Our Homeschool

Cassie D @ Deputie TribeHomeschooling 6 Taking Care of YOU

Kristen Heider @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year

Patti Pierce – Truth and Grace Homeschool AcademyMy Favorite Homeschooling Things

Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane5 Days of Nature Study

Jacquelin @ A Stable BeginningHomeschooling my final 4 

Christine @ Life’s Special NecessitiesYes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

Sally M – Tell the Next GenerationTips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners

How To Be Intentional About Life Skills ~ Not Back to School Blog Hop

How to be intentional about life skills

As you begin to think about being intentional about teaching life skills to your children, be prayerful. Ask God to direct your thoughts, to guide your ways. This is the best way to begin anything, really, so why would teaching life skills be any different. Keep in mind your purpose for teaching these life skills. Yesterday, I shared with you why we want to be intentional about teaching life skills to our girls.

Today, let’s chat a bit about what intentionality might look like.

Action words come to mind for me first:

  • look
  • listen
  • see
  • hear
  • read
  • talk
  • work
  • walk
  • act
  • practice
  • and we could go on.

A friend I know and greatly respect made this statement about being intentional and teaching life skills:

Let them help. Let them grow. Let them learn. If it is important enough for us to do, it is important enough for the children to do alongside us. – Brenna Rhodes

That really struck me. It isn’t always easy to have a child working alongside you. As an example, we just finished putting the doors and knobs back onto our repainted kitchen. Having Miss J help me was time consuming and slowing. It was slowing to teach her how to set the doors against the hinges, to screw them in, make sure they are tight, keep from dinging the new paint job, etc. Yet, she now knows how to add hinges to things like doors that might need it. She can look at how a door should go against a cabinet and tell if it is aligned right. She can tighten a screw without stripping it out. And then we did the knobs and pulls. The first few, I’ll be honest – I was worried she was going to scratch the finish because of how the pulls sit. She didn’t, though. Not one. She listened and was so very careful that I felt somewhat foolish that I had worried.

This is just one example of letting them come alongside me in my work, to do what I am doing and learn to do it on their own. Another example is going to be evident on the blog during our next round of Blogging Through The Alphabet. I have asked the older two girls to write the posts for me. They are going to split up the letters and choose favorite books to write about for older students, including designing an activity to go along with that book. I enjoy writing on the blog and so I figured, I’ve been doing this for a few years now, it is time to get them involved. Miss E and Miss L have each done a little bit once in a while but this will involve so much more – deadlines, writing for an audience that isn’t mom or sisters or dad, fitting the writing to a purpose and idea, creating a graphic to go along with it, thinking about activities that other students would enjoy and designing around that, learning how to format for the blog, and so much more. But this is a life skill in the digital age, isn’t it? Not necessarily the blog format but all the other stuff? Those are life skills, I am doing the Blogging Through The Alphabet anyway, so why not use the opportunity to teach them these life skills.

I hope you are seeing that I am trying to include the girls in what I do every day. Yes, learning how to care for a house or mow the lawn or do the laundry are important skills. But life skills are so much more than that.

Did they have a great class with someone? Have them write a thank you note.

Did they enjoy the sermon? Stop and talk with the preacher about what they really liked about it, the point that they got from it.

Did they can pickles? Allow them to share the jars with others. Miss J took all but one jar of the first batch of pickles we did and gave them away. She wanted to share her bounty with others. We may be buying pickles this year but that’s okay. Her skill of giving, showing love, talking to others (She had to give each person the jar and tell them what they were, where they came from, and why she was giving them pickles.), planning (She wrapped each one with a ribbon and had to remember to take them.), and so much more.

Do they want to learn a skill you don’t know? Allow them to ask around in safe community places (church would be where we begin) to see if there is someone who could teach them. This is how Miss L ended up in debate last year. And she learned SOOOOO much from that debate class. Life skills galore!

I am starting to get off track here but do you see how something that happens in every day life can be the gateway to learning a whole host of life skills? You just have to be looking for it and paying attention to the actions that you are doing anyway. Something simple can really be used to great advantage when you begin thinking about life skills.

You have probably heard the saying that goes something like this:

If you don’t teach them to serve God, the world will teach them not to.

If we don't teach our children to serve God, the world will teach them not to. Be intentional.

This is great motivation for teaching life skills and all that comes with them. Tomorrow, let’s chat about what life skills are. Specifically, what life skills look like. I have given you a sneak peek here, I guess, though my rambling. Tomorrow – specifics!

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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There are many more tidbits to be found on the link up for the Not Back To School Blog Hop. Be sure to visit the post on the Homeschool Review Crew to read other articles and get loads of information to encourage you on your homeschool journey.

CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

Chareen @ Every Bed of RosesABC of Homeschooling

Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day

Erin @ For Him and My Family Large Family Homeschooling

Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens Learning Life Skills

Monique @ Mountain of Grace HomeschoolingHomeschooling the High School Years

Monique D. @ Early Learning MomHomeschooling With Autism

Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling

Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool5 Days of Homeschool Questions

Amy @ the WRITE BalanceYear-Round Schooling

Annette @ A Net in TimeHomeschooling.

Betty @ Lets Get RealHomeschooling High School

Cassandra @ My Blessed MessEclectic Homeschooling

Kimberley @ Vintage Blue SuitcaseRoadschooling with a Teenager

Why Life Skills? – Not Back to School Blog Hop

Why Life Skills.png

I am participating with the Homeschool Review Crew in the annual Not Back to School Blog Hop. Why this name? Well, most of the Crew school year round. We understand that life and learning go hand in hand so we don’t ever really go “back to school.” We press on with different things, different seasons, different schedules, but we are always learning. This is what inspired me to talk a bit about “Life Skills.” Today is the WHY?

Why Life Skills?

What is important about them? What are they? Why bother?

For our family, it all goes back to looking at our purpose. Why are we educating at home to begin with? We have two goals for the three giggly girls. That’s right. Two main goals –

1 – To seek to serve God in all that they do

2 – To be well-rounded, knowledgeable, capable adults.

That’s it. Everything else falls under those two main goals. Yes, they are big but they are what is most important. If they aren’t serving God, nothing else matters. If they are AND they know how do “life,” well, I think we have some pretty special ladies on our hands when they reach adulthood.

So that is the WHY of life skills. It is truly that simple.

But let me break it down just a tad more for you. Because we have the first goal, we want to be intentional about the second. That way, they will be well equipped to serve in God’s kingdom. That is what it is all about.

So, life skills are those things that we need to know how to do in every day, real life. They can be as simple as picking up a room to as elaborate as fixing an engine. We will tackle some specific ideas on these tasks later in the week so definitely come back for that.

As you become Be aware, though, that the devil is lurking and seeking those he can devour. This includes our children. So we HAVE to be intentional about equipping them to serve God and being prepared to be adults who serve in God’s kingdom with their abilities. Seeking opportunities is key to this. And that is what we will look at tomorrow – how to be intentional and seek opportunity for equipping our children with the skills they need to be capable adults who serve God.

As you begin down this path, this being intentional about teaching your children life skills, the best way to start is with prayer. May God bless your work as you become intentional about life skills.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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A few of the Participants:

CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

Chareen @ Every Bed of RosesABC of Homeschooling

Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day

Erin @ For Him and My Family Large Family Homeschooling

Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens Learning Life Skills

Monique @ Mountain of Grace HomeschoolingHomeschooling the High School Years

Monique D. @ Early Learning MomHomeschooling With Autism

Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling

Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool5 Days of Homeschool Questions

Amy @ the WRITE BalanceYear-Round Schooling

Annette @ A Net in TimeHomeschooling.

Betty @ Lets Get RealHomeschooling High School

Cassandra @ My Blessed MessEclectic Homeschooling

And there are more tidbits you can learn by checking out some of the posts on this Linky.

 

Summer Activities are Education, Too

(This post contains affiliate links. If you follow a link and make a purchase, our family may receive a small commission from your purchase.)

“Life is learning and learning is life.”

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I was given the opportunity to share a bit about how our summers look by the Homeschool Review Crew during their weekly series titled Spotlight on the Crew. Our summers are spent in learning. Some of it happens here at the house, like it does during the “school year.” But a ton of it happens in the summer through other opportunities. There are great benefits to these activities.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read my post on Education Through Summer Activity.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

How can you turn your kids’ summer play into fun learning experiences? Join SchoolhouseTeachers.com to enjoy courses like Let’s Do Art OutsideCamping with JesusWeb Game DesignPhotography, and Wonderful World of Bugs, plus hundreds of additional PreK-12 courses and all the resources you need to create a quality, individualized homeschool plan for each child. During the May Flowers sale, you can get access to all SchoolhouseTeachers.com has to offer for only $99/yr (code TOTEBAG) or $9.95/mo (code UNDERTEN), and your rate never increases. PLUS, get a free tote in your choice of color and a copy of the Summer 2011 anniversary edition of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine when you select the annual membership option.* But hurry, because this deal ends on May 31, 2019! *free gifts US only

 

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Homeschool Complete Unit Studies ~ a Crew review

Homeschool Complete post image for unit studies

Unit studies are these wonderful packages of study that combine several different core areas of study under one topic. Homeschool Complete offers a number of different
Unit Studies that are packed full of learning and fun. We have just finished up two unit studies, having used John Adams (a one-week study) and Pioneers (a three-week study).

Homeschool Complete is a curriculum choice that has seen success. Created by Debra Arbuthnot, these studies are what she used to homeschool her own children. Her children have now graduated college and she is sharing her successful curriculum with others. In addition to her family education, Mrs. Arbuthnot has 27 years in public and private education.

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Homeschool Complete offers stand alone unit studies, complete year-long curriculum options, reading curriculum, and bundles of these products. Visit the website to take a look at all that is offered.

During this review period, we used two of her unit studies – John Adams and Pioneers. These studies are set up on a four-day per week schedule but you can adjust it for five-day weeks if that is what you do in your home. Alternatively, there are some suggested activities and reading that would allow to you go further with the study if you would rather do that on day five of your week.

Each study includes all of your core materials – reading, writing, math, science, history, fine arts, and PE. Every day does not include all of these areas but most are covered every day. To complete everything on each day’s activity list take around 2 -3 hours, depending on how much you adjust and your own children. We skipped the math in both of the studies because our daughter is at a different place in her math skills than these studies include. Even with that, we often spent an hour and a half – 2 hours on the study each day.

If you are a bit intimidated by the thought of covering everything with one study, have no fear. There are pages at the beginning of the study on how to use the study and the guide, how to approach teaching new skills, and tackling calender time if you use it in you home (it is included in the study). There is a complete skills list and a complete materials list, including having it broken down by lesson, at the beginning of the PDF.

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John Adams is a one week long 54-page unit study covering, you guessed it, John Adams. In this 3rd-4th grade level study, there were picture books to read and discuss, writing activities, historical adventures to learn, biographies to read, weather to talk about, and so much more. From singing patriotic songs and doing some physical activity to working on workbook pages (included in the download of the study), there is a variety of activity for each day.

Homeschool Complete Adams study and worksheet

We did have to make a trip to the library for this study to get the picture books, but, hey, we love trips to the library! We found the main picture books for the study, as well as couple of additional ones to keep around. We also substituted the chapter book for out-loud reading because it did not correspond to the study and was a character my daughter did not like. We gathered a few supplies, like crayons and pencils and the printed worksheet, and started off.

Homeschool Complete Adams study

Each day we would work through a picture book. Then we would work through the activities for the day. These included working on contractions, recalling information from the book, reading a non-fiction passage and writing answers to questions over it, creating art work to go with an event, creating a Venn diagram to compare two people, writing paragraphs and poetry, and movement activities.

 

By the time the week was out, we had a pretty good grasp of the life of John Adams, his wife Abigail, and the work he did as President. It was a good study.

Homeschool Complete Pioneers

Pioneers is a 3-week study for grades 3 through 6. At over 150 pages, it is packed with all your core materials and a bundle of activities to help your student experience life on the prairie. This study has a main book – Little House on the Prairie – that you will need to obtain separately. With the addition of a few materials for activities such as baking vanity cakes or making ice cream or growing crystals, you’ll have three weeks of fun reading and activity to learn about life during the pioneer times.

 

I did much of the reading out loud for Little House and then we used it as the jumping off point for the lessons after that. There are comprehension and discussion questions to go along with each reading of three to four chapters. Then there are worksheets, included in the PDF download, to further thought and practice writing. Each worksheet has some cursive practice and some words to work with in reading, spelling, and/or alphabetizing. Most have a short passage to read and then answer questions about, practicing full sentences. In these, we discussed weather, grasshoppers, and temperatures, to name a few. Miss J created graphs, mapped travel, labeled parts of grasshoppers, practiced reading charts, and worked on the long jump. She also work on music rhythms and time signatures.

Each day was a new variety of things to do and ways to do them. It was a good variety and kept things fun and interesting for her. We were able to take a couple of the activities and modify it to be able to go outside and work when the weather was nice. We found this study to be very adaptable and easy to use. With everything included for you, you can use just this study and feel confident that you are covering plenty of material with your child.

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Thoughts On Homeschool Complete Unit Studies

The unit studies are so full of activity and learning! You won’t be disappointed. Do recognize that your child may fall at a different understanding level for some of these. For example, the Pioneers study is listed for 4 different grade levels. There is no way the math in that study can work for all 4 levels so be prepared to adjust for your own students. But that is the beauty of these unit studies. They are so full of activities, that skipping a few things or modifying them doesn’t diminish the quality of the study. It still is full of core study activities centered around a theme.

Some of the activities don’t quite fit clearly into the theme but that is to be expected when you are trying to create a truly comprehensive unit study. An example is that for PE one day, there was a discussion of flexibility. Not a bad item to discuss and the activity was kind of fun for my girl but it didn’t really fit into the theme. Doesn’t matter – we covered PE that day!

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All in all, I really like these unit studies. They are packed full of materials, ideas, and activities to keep the students engaged and interested. They material is flexible and can be adjust easily as needed to fit your family. There is enough material included in the downloadable PDF files that you wouldn’t miss it. You can even choose to pay for the unit study to be printed and shipped to you if you would prefer that route.

COUPON AVAILABLE: Use the code CREW2019 and can get 10% off your order until 3/31/2019.

Homeschool Complete Discount

A while back, we also used the unit study on Soccer. I did not write a review here on my blog for it but you can find it on the The Old Schoolhouse Product Review page.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Homeschool Review Crew families have used a number of the unit studies as well as different grade levels of the All-Inclusive Curriculum. Please click through the banner below to visit the main post to read more reviews of Homeschool Complete.

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IXL for online, individualized learning ~ a Crew review

When it comes to online learning, a personalized fit is key. IXL Learning has that personalization and came to us for review at a time when we were looking for some fresh ideas.

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IXL is an online program that requires a subscription, a computer, and internet access. We are using the full annual membership and that gives us access to all grade levels and all subjects. This is a really good thing for us since we have a student in late elementary, one in middle school and one in high school. There truly is something for each of them with IXL.

IXL is a comprehensive curriculum for the elementary levels in math, language arts, science, and social studies. What this means is that the subject and skill areas covered is comprehensive – everything you would need for those levels. It is comprehensive in math and language arts all the way through high school. Science and social studies are available through 8th grade. There is also a Spanish class to take that covered many areas of the language.

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IXL is not a complete curriculum in that it does not include the teaching necessary for students to understand the concepts/skills if they don’t already know them. A parent/teacher would need to be available to preteach or teach when questions are missed. In a previous review, this is how we used IXL and it worked well. We used it to teach the skills the girls needed help with as they went along. They also used it to practice those things they already knew or could pick up easily.

HOW IT WORKS

When a student is ready to work in IXL, they log in. Each student has their own profile but it is under a central login. The student then chooses which subject area they are going to work in. After clicking, say, language arts, the student then chooses the grade level to work on and the specific skill area within that subject. So, Miss J might choose math, grade 4, and patterns. It will then begin her work.

She will read and answer questions. As she answers correctly, the questions get progressively more challenging, requiring the students to think harder to get all the way through the question set. This dynamic system keeps the questions fresh and the student working hard at mastery. When a questions is answered incorrectly, the program gives them an explanation page. It gives the correct answer, the answer the student gave, and a step-by-step explanation of the correct answer. The student must read through that or have someone read and explain it to them. There is not a “read to me” option and there are no video explanations with additional examples to help grasp the concept.

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Each question set has a goal. For many it is to reach 100. For others it is to answer a certain number of questions correctly. As they near the goal, it becomes a challenge zone, which is a key to the student that the questions are getting more difficult and they will have to work harder.

Alternatively, there is a second way to approach using IXL. When a student first begins, they can take a diagnostic test. Each question on the test is designed to narrow down the skills the student needs to work on, honing in on specific areas. The more questions the student answers, the better the program can identify needs. This is very good. However, you need to know that ahead of time because it otherwise becomes the never-ending test. It doesn’t stop, as far as I can tell. It just keeps honing. You can just have your student stop after a certain period of time you choose or answer a chosen number of questions.

Once the diagnostic test is stopped, there are recommendations made for the student. These recommendations do change when a different child clicks into their account. If the child has not taken the diagnostic test, they will still receive recommendations based on what they have worked on. The child can choose to tackle the recommendations or just go on to what they want to work on. The recommendations include all subject areas.

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HOW WE USED IT

IXL patternsMiss J is 10 and working at a 4th/5th grade level. She is using the program mostly for math but also doing some science, social studies, and Spanish. She is using the program almost every day for her math. She works for about 30 minutes on math each day, which takes her through 2 – 3 skill areas. Once a week, I sit down with her to go through Spanish. This is more of a review for her at these early stages, working on letters, numbers, and such. It does eventually become more conversational but she has to learn to spell the Spanish words for things before we move too much further with it. In science, she is exploring the gems and minerals part of the topics about once a week. And she is working on the American History topics once a week with me, also.

Miss J loves that she is getting some little “prizes” when she reaches certain goals – answer 100 questions or spend 2 hours on math. I also receive an emailed certificate for each of those goals. I can print that out or just show it to her online.

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Miss L is in 7th grade. She has had some math topics that she has struggled with. We have used IXL math as a review for her. I have given her a list of topics/skill areas that I want her to practice. She gets on and work through that list. I have seen those skill areas, as well as her general attention to detail in math, grow through using IXL.

IXL Learning for history FBMiss E is in high school. She has been using IXL to work on some of the history topics that relate to the project she is working on. She is creating cards related to the big happenings in American history. She used IXL to see how her retention was and to challenge herself in her memory. She has looked at some of the math topics, as well. They are relating to her math book very clearly and so when she needs some review or extra practice on math skills for algebra, she can log in here.I

WHAT I LIKE

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I like that there are an abundance of topics and skill areas for the girls to work on. I like that there is something for everyone. I like the variety of question styles and answer options, such as the picture choices when working on minerals. And, I like that I can see progress.

There is a parent/teacher side to the site that gives you all sorts of diagnostic information. You can see how long any one student has worked in a given day or week. You can see the exact skills and questions they worked on. You can see if they need additional work. You can also see their progress. I like that this exists and can see how I might use it sometimes but I am not using it a lot. I do, however, see the benefits of this and am thankful it is there for those parents/teachers who want and need to see these for grades and planning.

All in all, there are some great things about IXL. It is a solid program for review or to work alongside an active parent/teacher. It is worth checking out.

If you are looking for a Spanish version of the site, there is one available. If you are in another country, it also possible for you to receive the site with the appropriate math skills for your area. It should redirect you automatically to the IXL site for your country.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

The Homeschool Review Crew had many families using IXL Learning for the past few weeks. Reading several reviews will help you understand more about the benefits and flexibility of this program. Please read more of the reviews by clicking the banner below.

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