I am always on the look out for new homeschool programs, and have recently come across IXL. Now I had heard of them previously, but was always a little dubious as it was American. We are based in the UK and are following the UK National Curriculum, so I was interested to see how IXL learning worked.
Disclosure – I received an annual subscription to IXL for review, but all views are my own.
There is a UK edition to IXL which follows the UK curriculum and has UK spellings and UK money. I am pleased I have had the opportunity to review the American version for you though. As in my opinion although there are a few negatives for UK students (please see below) it has more subjects to study.
The Differences Between UK and USA version of IXL
- The UK version of IXL is available for maths and English
- The USA version of IXL has maths, English, science, Spanish and social science lessons.
- The UK version follows the UK national curriculum. The school year suggestions follow the UK school system. There are localised spellings, the money is in £ and not $ and the weights are metric.
- The American version follows the standards set in America. The school grades are American (see table below for comparisons). There are localised spellings, the money is in $ and the weights are imperial.
What is IXL?
IXL stands for “I excel” which I think is a very apt name.
IXL Learning is not just a maths and English tool. It also has science, social studies and Spanish, so is a complete online learning resource. It is for all ages from Year 1 to Year 13 (UK levels – see table above to see where your child sits within the American grades.) If you opt for the UK version of IXL it only includes maths and English.
Using IXL in our Homeschool
We have only been using it for a week now, and I honestly, already know this is something we will continue to use. (No I have not been paid to say that.)
What I instantly loved, which I have not come across before, is IXL did not ask for my sons age! I know, this at first really surprised me.
As soon as my son logged onto IXL he had to take a diagnostic test, which is about 150 questions in both maths and language arts (English). Now we had no idea how long this “test” would take, but it took Freddie about 3 hours. Now Freddie is only 9 years old so he of course had plenty of breaks in between.
The results were amazing, and exactly what I would expect. Freddie was deregistered from school, as in my opinion he wasn’t being pushed hard enough, and he should be working at a higher level than year 4. We have been homeschooling since June 2018 and this diagnostic assessment confirmed everything we already knew. In maths his overall level was 510 (which is year 6 in England) and his overall language arts level was 520 (which is also year 6 in England.) This level of personalised learning is something I have not seen before.
At first I struggled to understand the different school grades as they are different from the UK. If you had the UK version of IXL this would not be a problem. But to make it easier for you if using the American version I have created the following table.
School Year Grade Comparison for UK and USA
|Date of Birth||Age||USA School Grade||UK Equivalent|
|01/10/14 – 30/09/15||3||PK3|
|01/10/13 – 30/09/14||4||PK4||Reception|
|01/10/12 – 30/09/13||5||Kindergarten||Year 1|
|01/10/11 – 30/09/12||6||1||Year 2|
|01/10/10 – 30/09/11||7||2||Year 3|
|01/10/09 – 30/09/10||8||3||Year 4|
|01/10/08 – 30/09/09||9||4||Year 5|
|01/10/07 – 30/09/08||10||5||Year 6|
|01/10/06 – 30/09/07||11||6||Year 7|
|01/10/05 – 30/09/06||12||7||Year 8|
|01/10/04 – 30/09/05||13||8||Year 9|
|01/10/03 – 30/09/04||14||9||Year 10|
|01/10/02 – 30/09/03||15||10||Year 11|
|01/10/01 – 30/09/02||16||11||Year 12|
|01/10/00 – 30/09/01||17||12||Year 13|
Continuous Diagnostic Report
The diagnostic report was so detailed. Not only did it tell me that his overall maths and language arts level, it broke it down into different sections. In maths there was:
- Numbers and Operations
- Algebra & Algebraic Thinking
- Data, Statistics & Probability
So I know that Freddie needs extra work on geometry in particular. So rather than having to stay working at year 4 he is working in year 4 (UK) for geometry, year 5 (UK) for data statistics & probability but year 6 (UK) for everything else.
Check out my popular post on over 80 educational resources that we use in our homeschool.
The English report is just as detailed and is broken down as following:
- Reading Strategies
- Writing Strategies
- Grammar & Mechanics
Freddie is working in year 6 (UK) for all but grammar & mechanics where is at the beginning of year 5. It tells me what he struggles with as well: Capitalising titles, capitalising names and places, punctuating dialogue and commas with the names of places.
Every lesson Freddie does his diagnostic report also changes. This can be printed out or just viewed online.
IXL Recommendations Page
After the diagnostic test has been taken there are loads of recommendations for your child to do. They can scroll through and chose what lesson they do next, be it maths or language arts.
Once they have chosen which skill they would like to work on the child selects the lesson.
It shows them on the right of the screen how many questions they have answered, the time elapsed and the smart score out of 100.
There are absolutely loads of certificates to be achieved as well and virtual stickers. So if they are progressing well, or spending time on IXL they get rewarded.
What’s also great is, I got an email telling me how hard Freddie had been working. Although he works on a desk behind mine, and he was so proud he told me as soon as he got it.
Parent Information with IXL
The level of information that parents get with IXL is also much more than I have seen before. There is a certificate centre, where you can see how they are progressing.
The progress and improvement page is also really handy. You can see exactly what lessons they have done and how they did in it. Clearly Freddie needs more work with two dimensional figures for example. But IXL will keep this in the recommendations page until he completely understands it.
The usage details is also brilliant. It shows how many questions they have answered, how long they have spent practising and what skills they have progressed in.
This is one of the best online home education programs we use. I love the fact that you are not stuck in one year group for all lessons. I love that you can chose which lesson or skill you want to master.
If you opt for the American version of IXL there are a few negatives for UK students though:
- The spelling is American
- When working in money it is in US Dollars not UK £
- The measurements are imperial and not metric
- It follows the US standard of education and not the UK national curriculum.
However, even with these negatives in the American version, I absolutely recommend IXL learning to any student. For me these small negatives were not enough to put us off. As there is Spanish, science and social science lessons as well.
If the negatives would put you off though please do opt for the English version. It is just as good as the American version, but at this time it does not have science, Spanish or social science.