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Schoolhouse Review: IXL

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IXL is an interactive online math program that will help children improve their math skills from learning shapes all the way to Algebra 2. Recently IXL has added Language Arts for grades 2, 3, and 4.
Membership for 1 child is $9.95 per month for one subject or $79.00 per year. Each additional child added to the account will cost $2.00 or $20.00 a year. For both subjects (Math and Language Arts) the cost for one child is $15.95 per month/$120.00 a year.

My family was blessed to receive a one year subscription for both math and Language Arts. We only used IXL math. I love that each child had access all grade levels this worked out great because at times I had a few kids go back some levels with a certain concept they were struggling with. For instance Annette was having trouble with Integers and went back two grades (she’s in 8th and went back to 6th) and completed the lessons on Integers to get a better understanding and practice them.
Once you set up your account your child can click on any grade/level. If you look at the image below and under ‘Pre-K Skills’ you will see lots of medals, well that’s because a few of my kids had so much fun doing Pre-K math (not that I have a pre-k child, sigh). As your child completes and masters the math concept they will receive a gold medal.
IXL Levels
When your child clicks on the math skill they will immediately start their lesson.
IXL Math
In the image above (Ethan’s membership) on the right there is “Time elapsed ” you can turn that off if you feel it will overwhelm or become too stressful for your child. My children preferred to have it because they could see the amount of time they had done math (it will automatically pause after a few minutes and resume once your child answers the question).

If your child answers a problem incorrectly IXL will explain and give an example of how to solve the problem.
IXL Incorrect answer
Pre-k to 1st grade have audio which I think is great so the child can have some independence. I would have liked the audio options for some of the higher grades for those who have struggling readers. This would be great for my 3rd grade son Lance.
When you go the parent account (here is my ‘mom’ button, IXL Mom =)pretty cute don’t you think?).  There is a reports link where you can see how each child is doing. There are all kinds of charts and graphs.
You can check:
  • Status updates:
    Overview
    Proficiency assessment
    News flash
    Report cards
  • Usage:
    Problems received
    Skills practiced
    Usage log
  • Performance:
    Performance for category"
    Performance for skill
  • Trouble spots
  • Progress:
    Improvement over time
These come in very handy to really find out and see where your child is at with certain concepts and zero in any problems your student may have.

Here it shows what Annette has mastered her Number theory math skills.
Trouble Spots
Ethan’s has a bit more color ;)
IXL Ethan
IXL will also email progress reports. This shows how many hours each child worked and how they did. This is how I found out Caleb, Brent, and Ethan where having fun with the Pre-K and K math too. It was what they considered their ‘fun’ math after they completed their regular assignments.

You will also receive via email News Flashes. These are fun because it will say how many problems or how much time your child has used IXL. You can click on the envelop to view and print an award.
IXL Email
Something fun that the kids enjoyed was earning their awards. They had fun clicking on the question mark to see what they got. Sometimes it was a scooter or a cheeseburger.

The children would receive an award for learning something new, spending x amount of time, or mastering 5 skills in one category.
IXL Awards
Now the big question, “Would you use this as your child’s main math program?”. Before answering I did have each child only use IXL during the review period. We put away all other math programs this way I could see how the children did using IXL and get a good feel for the program.
For my family it depended on the child.

Ethan (5th grade, struggles with reading, wants to just finish school) I think he needs a bit more and IXL would work more as a supplement. The reason being is he he gets frustrated when he misses one and has a hard time understanding what he read. With that said, sitting down with Ethan and going over the concept with him until he understands it then let him continue with IXL would be another way to go.

With Annette (8th grade, diligent, good reader, will seek out the answer) she asked if she could use IXL as her main math program. I asked her if she felt that IXL explained math so she understood it. For the most part IXL did that. She continued to do the lesson until she mastered the concept. There was one time when she just didn’t understand, she would read IXL’s explanation but continued to miss the problems. She had to seek out another math program to ‘get it’. Once she figured it out and understood how to reach the answer to the math problem she was able to proceed and complete her IXL assignment. 

Joshua- (10th grade, diligent, note taker, will seek out the answer) I think Josh works best with an actual book. During the review period I have had him only use IXL and he’s done very well but at times he will spend most of his math hour seeking understanding with a concept that he’s struggling with. I like that he will take the time to figure it out but because he struggles in math IXL for him would be better as a supplement. With that said, he has really enjoyed using IXL and because he needs to master a concept to reach the 100% and to get the gold medal status, it has improved his math skills. He’s mentioned IXL has really helped him in that area by giving him lots of practice.
Sorry if I’m sending mixed signals here but Josh is not your average student. He learns so differently and to be honest I’m afraid to put all our math eggs in one basket with him.

So to answer the question, yes and no. Yes because  IXL covers what a child needs to learn in that grade/level but mom or dad will need to be available to stop using IXL when a child runs into a problem. You can then help your child understand by using manipulative, online free math sheets, or another math program (which many homeschoolers use multiple math programs anyway).

No, because it does depend on the child and how they learn. Like with Joshua and his learning style.
I would also add that with some children like Annette and Joshua they can use IXL independently. With my younger students it’s great because for the most part they can do math all by themselves BUT I wouldn’t consider it a self directed math program. They will need mom/dad to teach them when they hit a wall.

With Ethan he could go days just hopping on IXL do his 30-40 minutes and be done. Other days he’d get stuck and I would sit with him, show him, and then let him loose again with IXL.

Bottom line or should I say “the short answer”, IXL can be used as a supplement to another math program (3 days using XYZ math and 2 days using IXL or use XYZ for 30 minutes then have the child switch to IXL for another 10-15) or as ones main program but go off on bunny math trails when needed. Either way I feel IXL will help my children really master their math. We will continue using it through the school year.

I’m confident enough to let Annette stop her regular math and continue only with IXL as her main math program for the remainder of the year.

To read more reviews please click on the banner  below, thank you!
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Happy Birthday Brent and Annette

I’m writing this a little late. Brent’s birthday was a few weeks ago and Annette’s birthday was in September!!! I’m still playing catch-up with my pictures. Did I say I was behind =)
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We celebrated Annette’s and Brent’s birthday together. Usually we celebrate Caleb’s and Annette’s birthdays together but since Caleb was turning the big 13 we thought it would be nice for him to have a birthday all to himself.


I love Annette’s smile. This year she wanted an ice cream cake, so that’s what we got. Chocolate cake with cookie dough (I think) ice cream. We bought one cake for both kiddos.

My Sweets is the one who lights the candles. It’s one of our little traditions.
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Our birthday parties usually consist of Grandpa Joe and cousins. If my brother is around then he’ll join in as well. Most of our family lives out of state.

Not sure why Josh and his cousin are laughing but it’s good for the liver right?!?!
Awwe, love my kids. Looks like a little one wants to help blow out the candles.
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Don’t you just love how we (my family, not my SIL) wrap gifts, with boxes and packaging envelops.

I thought it was sweet of Brent to let Annette be the first to open a gift. Especially since he has been waiting all year!!!

Lance gave Brent a monkey.

His cousins wrapped Brent’s gift with lots and lots of packaging tape (if you know what I mean Winking smile)

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He loves Star Wars Legos.

From her Auntie and cousins Annette received this really nice Binder. I loved the quality of it. I did a little research and the binder was sold by Hallmark in 2003. 

My SIL has a gift of finding some really neat things at a great price. She paid a whopping .50 for the binder. (just for the record we don’t mind gifts that are not ‘new’. We actually love used finds. I am not adding the price to embarrass, I was just really impressed and it’s part of our memories. )
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Auntie also gave her some material and a gift card so she can shop at Joanne's Fabric.


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Dad and I gave Annette a gift card to Walmart so she could pick some fabric out. Joanne’s and Walmart were on her list because they both have fabric at a good price.
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Another gift from Auntie. Lupe and I also gave Brent a Star Wars Lego set but I didn’t get a picture of it.

Schoolhouse Review: EEME

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Brent 12yrs. and Lance 10yrs. have shown interest in electronics. Especially Brent, he is always asking if he can take apart my coffee pot or the toaster. Toaster, maybe, coffee pot, I don’t think so. I love my morning cup of java. I see a little engineer in the making. He loves to build all kinds of neat things with his Legos. I was really impressed when he made a huge Death Star ship (from Star Wars). He had this big ship balancing with a very small base. It was pretty incredible if you ask this mama!

When picked to review EEME I was excited for my boys. They were going to get the chance to put their light kit together.

Here is what we received from EEME:

  • 1 Black battery holder
  • 1 Breadboard
  • 1 White enclosure box (Add on item for $10.95 but at the time of this review it’s free!)
  • 2 AA batteries
  • Two 2 inch yellow wires
  • Two1 inch blue wires
  • 4 Thumbscrews (If you purchased the white enclosure box)
  • 4 Hex bolts (If you purchased the white enclosure box)
  • 2 Resistors
  • 1 Photo resistor
  • 1 LED light

When the box came it didn’t seem like much to me but my boys were impressed. They were excited to see the all the little wires and such.

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When the box arrived the children and I logged onto our EEME account. This is a free account, so you can view the lessons before purchasing to see if it’s something you’d like to do with your children. All you need to do is provide an email address. 

With our light kit in hand we carefully spread out the contents and started watching the online video.

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The videos are wonderful for visual learners. The child can follow along with the video instructor and pause when needed.  

The videos are segmented which is great for the younger learners who need a break. Josh and Brent were able to watch all the videos and put the kit together in one day.

As the instructor is showing the child how to put the light kit together he is also explaining how it works. After each segment there are questions for the student to answer.

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How Exactly does EEME work? EEME is a five month subscription for $18.95 a month you will receive a kit to assemble. Each months kit will build from the previous one. For instance with Project 2 (2nd month) your child will reuse the breadboard, battery pack, and base to complete the DIY Display project.

EEME5  There is also a virtual kit that I thought was really neat. This is include when you open a free account!
EEME1 What did my kids think of EEME: I thought my 9 year old son would really be interested in this but he was not. He only sat through the first video. Brent (12yrs.) really enjoyed it and had lots of fun with it. My oldest son Josh (15yrs.) really, really, really, liked putting the kit together.

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In fact Josh offered to pay for the rest of the kits so he could do all of EEME’s projects! My husband and I decided that we would purchase it for him though because we know it’s something he’d appreciate and really wants to do.

EEME’s five month subscription is recommended for ages 7-12, in our case ages 7-15 :)

EEME Led Light

To read more reviews please click on the banner below, thank you!

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After 4 Long Years . . .

On October 26th, 2013 after 1 month shy of 4 years no more braces for me!!!
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It was an exciting day and I’m thrilled with the results. The only con is because of the oral surgery I still do not have all feeling in my chin. It’s a bummer. A year ago on Oct. 10th I had oral surgery. Hard to believe.

It hurt having my braces removed. My eyes actually watered from the pain. It was the back two rings that didn’t want to come out or snap off (not sure which). All I can say to that was ouch!
In the picture my face looks a bit blotchy because the gloves irritate my skin. The orthodontist even switched to latex free gloves so it’s not as bad but I still get some redness and a little itchy.
I didn’t tell my hubby that I was having my braces removed because I wanted to surprise him. Poor guy has been a bit stressed out with so much going on here at Homeschooling6 that he didn’t notice. I took him our for a hamburger at Country Burger for a burger and sweet potato fries to just give him some down time before more business this weekend.

At the end of our meal I asked my usual question, “Do I have food stuck in my braces?” he smiled and started laughing because he realized my braces were not there. It was great.
Thank you Jesus and the whole orthodontist team for my new smile. I love it! No more trying to hide my crooked teeth.

Schoolhouse Review: Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns

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For the past 2 years my daughter Annette has been attending a two hour once a week sewing class at our church. During this time she has made a few skirts, dresses, pillowcases, aprons, and a few other items. One thing she hasn’t made are doll clothes. I thought it would be fun to give Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns a try. She could learn some tips and trick and maybe apply some of what she learns to other aspects of her sewing.

What we received was a 1 year online membership ($48.06) which includes:

  • Over 130 video tutorials
  • Over 8 hours of teaching
  • Bonus of 8 doll clothes patterns in pdf format
  • 6 Weeks of step by step instructions

Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns makes it easy for the beginner or experienced sewer to jump right in and get started. The recommended age is 8 and up. The course is broken up into 6 weeks which for us was great because we felt a sense of order. Each week has a title links. For instance Week 1 will cover:

  • Introduction to How to Sew Doll Clothes
  • Setting Up Your Sewing Room
  • Tools that Make Sewing Doll Clothes Easy
  • Everything You Need to Know About Fabric
  • Know Your Elastic
  • How to Use Your Sewing Tools
  • Cool Tips When Using Your Sewing Tools

You click on the title.

Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns 

Under the title are subtitles.

Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns

Annette would click on the pink subtitle to watch a 1-6 minute video tutorial.

Each video is very thorough and Rosie talks you through each step. The length of each video varies depending on what is being taught. The videos are professionally done and you can tell Rosie loves what she is doing. She has a very cheerful, pleasant, and kind voice.

Annette enjoyed watching the video tutorials. It was like having her own personal sewing teacher. If there was something she didn’t understand the first time she could always view it again. The tutorials didn’t take a lot of time out of her busy school schedule and she liked that the course can be part of her Home Economics class.

With the course you receive eight free patterns:

  1. Sport Shorts
  2. Crop Top
  3. Sarong
  4. Halter Top
  5. Pumpkin Costume
  6. Underpants
  7. Summer Nightie

Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns

Annette chose to make a Sarong. She thought the skirt was really cute. This was her first attempt to sew something for a doll and I do think she did a great job. We would have loved to show you all how the Sarong fit an 18 inch doll but guess what? With five brothers who love knives, air soft guns, and Star Wars, well, my little girl is kind of in the minority here. Instead of a doll she has a pink air soft pistol .

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For Annette, Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns built on top of what she already learned from her sewing teacher at church. It also provided her with some new tips and tricks. She hadn’t learned much about casing, how to attach velcro and studs, working with buttons and ribbons, so there was a lot exciting new things for her to learn as well.

My final thoughts: If your daughter would like to learn how to sew doll clothes for her babies, I’d highly suggest Rosie’s Doll Clothes Patterns. Rosie does a great job with explaining her sewing tips and which tools she recommends to make things run smoothly. She’s friendly and ‘patient’ too!

To learn more about Rosie and her company you can find her at:

To read more reviews please click on the banner below, thanks and have a great day!

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September Pictures

I’m not sure if I shared this picture of my boys outside. I am so far behind it’s not even funny Smile with tongue out.


Ethan 10, Lance 9, and Brent 12.


Caleb studying for AWANA and Lance eating a carrot.


Cute Lance foot. He was attacked by something. Not sure what. Look at those adorable toes!


I goofed making a Muffin in a Minute and came out with a Mudslide Cake. Yum!

Duck Dynasty
This was the month we started watching Duck Dynasty.


I started watching a cute little 3 month old baby boy. He brings lots of smiles to all our faces.

God's World Magazine TRAK
Annette and Josh received their first issue of God’s World Magazine-TRAK

 Homeschooling6 Mom
I received beautiful flowers from my sister MaryEllen asking if I will accept her invitation to be in her wedding!!!

Of course I said YES!!!!

Kefir Shake
Hubby and I enjoy having a Kefir-coconut shake every morning.

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We celebrated my husbands 34th birthday!


Caleb turned 13 years old. He is our 3rd teenager!!!


The big tree in our yard was trimmed. Now there is a big whole in the sky.


The Clean-up crew =)

Annette also had a birthday but we didn’t celebrate in Sept. She let Caleb have his special day all to himself since he was turning 13. Because they are 1 year and 6 days apart they usually celebrate their birthdays together.

And that was the month of Sept. in pictures!