> Bless Their Hearts Mom
Thursday, February 21, 2019

IXL Makes ONLINE Learning FUN again!

I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

This past year as a first time reviewer for the Homeschool Review Crew, we got to check out quite a few different programs that help tutor and teach your child in Math, and we're starting the new review year off with a new program, that is hands down Miss Grace's new favorite:

IXL banner

IXL Learning is a new online learning program that teaches the core subjects of math and language arts for all grades, pre-K through 12th, and science, social studies and introductory Spanish for grades 2-8. We have been able to check out their full annual membership, in all IXL subjects, but our main focus was to help Miss Grace with pre-Algebra skills. 

What makes IXL program unique is how they approach online learning: they look at recommendations (based on an initial test), diagnostics (how well your child does on different sections) and analytics (to show you problem areas).

IXL properties

 By using positive reinforcement, and repeat questioning, your child will not only learn via different approaches, but succeed, and be thrilled that they have achieved a new level!

Just look at the different amount of skills (there are over 7,000 total in the entire program!), by grade, that can be worked on in the upper elementary to high school levels:
ixl skills chart
As you can see, at the upper elementary levels, your child can work on all the core subjects every day they are in school! We all know that constant practice helps us remember better, and the IXL Learning Program makes that practice FUN!

How much fun? Try retaking the diagnostic test TWICE, because she wanted a better score in Math, as she was chasing the bunny while answering questions (don't ask, it wasn't her or I her left the cage door open...sigh). And this is a kid who HATES tests. Period. But the variance of questions made her WANT to retry, to see if she could better HER score!

ixl skill selections

As a parent, I love that I can go and and select the different skills I want her to work on (in the case of Math, I selected those skills matching her weekly lessons)-highlighted in yellow on the screen, and those that didn't align with her plan, could be left off. I could also click on skills that she could go back in and work on, for added practice, before the end of the year test! For the other skill sets, I selected ones I thought would be on the end of the year test, to allow her practice. As you can see, it also lets her know when she has completed a skill set as well, so she knows what skills she still needs to work on.

ixl sample math questions

What she really loves about the program is how it teaches, as it skills her. For example in the sample above, you can see how the questions in that skill set start off. As she wasn't answering them right (Hello! pay attention!), it went into the secondary form, where the answer was in multiple choice form, showing her the different options, to rule out wrong answers. The program ADAPTED to her need for more reinforcement. Then once she started getting those style questions right again, it went BACK to the original form! 

answering ixl questions

And if you child gets a wrong answer, the question isn't removed- rather the program shows them the correct answer and let's them see what they did WRONG. That question is then put BACK into the loop, for retesting! On the other hand, if they get it right, they get IMMEDIATE reinforcement on the screen! And the result is that your child feels they are LEARNING, as well as having fun, even when they miss an answer!

working on ixl and completion screen

BUT if they complete the whole section, they are awarded as well! They get their score, and time. And all of that is recorded in the parent's section, so YOU can see not only how they are doing, but what they are missing, and need more help with, AND you can also print out certificates!

ixl completion certificates

While Miss Grace (LB was the name she picked for the trial period) appreciated the certificated, it as more about scoring for her. Younger kids would probably be much more into the certificates! 

While our focus was really on the math skills, she did go through some of the grammar and social studies on days when she couldn't find her planner, and found that they were a good review set.

Because IXL Learning is a web based system, you can use it on any device that can pull up the internet. I love that there is a parent sign on, and a child sign on, so she doesn't have to go through the parent account to reach her dashboard. And because all the info is stored online, it's always up to date, no matter which device you are using (helpful if your child gravitates from their desktop to YOUR laptop, LOL). 

ixl app info

But more helpful for us has been the IXL App! Not only did we download it onto her iPad, but also onto my Kindle. So anytime we are away from home, she can keep on working, instead of playing a mindless game! I LOVE that there is also a Kindle app, for those of you who use a Kindle for your kids! That's not always an option!  You will note that not all of the skills are on the mobile app yet, but they are being added. 

This has been a really fun app and one that I don't have to FIGHT her to work on. I think for visual learners, especially dyslexic kids, like her, it really leans toward their best leaning methods and allows them a great way to succeed. Even if you aren't homeschooling, it's a valuable tool to assist your child with extra practice on key skills they will NEED, as they advance in school! I would really recommend it for the elementary through Junior High kids, and for high schoolers who need extra help!

But don't just take my word for it- check out what my fellow Homeschool Review Crew think- we've got some new members this year, with all age groups covered- by clicking on the banner below:

Immersive, Adaptive Learning Online {IXL Learning Reviews}
IXL Learning knows we don't all need the same things, so you can get the full annual membership, like we reviewed, or you can get monthly help, or even break down by what you need in subjects only, with different IXL pricing plans, based on a single child, or family use. There is also a Spanish option at https://es.ixl.com/, for those that need it instead.

Be sure to check out their social media pages for special discounts and great educational info:    Facebook: facebook.com/IXLTwitter: twitter.com/IXLLearningPinterest: pinterest.com/IXL and YouTube: youtube.com/IXL

Crew Disclaimer

History Corner: The Tale Teller by Anne Hillerman

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from
via EdelweissPlus,  review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.

Legendary Navajo policeman Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn takes center stage in this riveting atmospheric mystery from New York Timesbestselling author Anne Hillerman that combines crime, superstition, and tradition and brings the desert Southwest vividly alive.

teh tale teller


Joe Leaphorn may have retired from the Tribal Police, but he finds himself knee-deep in a perplexing case involving a priceless artifact—a reminder of a dark time in Navajo history. Joe’s been hired to find a missing biil, a traditional dress that had been donated to the Navajo Nation. His investigation takes a sinister turn when the leading suspect dies under mysterious circumstances and Leaphorn himself receives anonymous warnings to beware—witchcraft is afoot.

While the veteran detective is busy working to untangle his strange case, his former colleague Jim Chee and Officer Bernie Manuelito are collecting evidence they hope will lead to a cunning criminal behind a rash of burglaries. Their case takes a complicated turn when Bernie finds a body near a popular running trail. The situation grows more complicated when the death is ruled a homicide, and the Tribal cops are thrust into a turf battle because the murder involves the FBI.

As Leaphorn, Chee, and Bernie draw closer to solving these crimes, their parallel investigations begin to merge . . . and offer an unexpected opportunity that opens a new chapter in Bernie’s life.


Anne has done an amazing job in taking over for her dad in this series! By allowing Leaphorn to 'retire' and act as a consultant, Chee and Manielito are able to come to the fore front, and Anne's touch here is evident. not only does she offer the 'female touch', but she has helped to bring in more modernization to the stories. But what she has not left out is the people, the history and the ties to the land. Once again, it is about the historical treasures and greed that start a domino effect and lead to dual mysteries that converge with Leaphorn's new case. it's a fun twist and a great way to see all the characters at their best. if you haven't read the series in awhile, be sure to pick this one up- it will have you coming back and reading the ones you have missed!

About the Author:

Anne Hillerman is an award-winning reporter, the author of several nonfiction books, and the daughter of New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Tale Teller is her fourth novel.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Preventing Digital Damage: 4 Tips For Managing Your Child’s Screen Time

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this info, free of charge,from news and Experts, for blog posting purposes on this blog. No compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it,  all opinions are my own.

The digital age has given new generations of parents something extra to worry about:
How much screen time is too much?

child n comuter

 Physicians, teachers and psychologists generally agree that spending inordinate amounts of time immersed in computers, smartphones or social media can negatively impact a child’s developing mind and body. A screen time study published recently in JAMA Pediatrics found a link between excessive screen time and later development milestones.

Other studies have associated digital overuse with teen depression, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines suggesting daily limits on screen time for different age groups.

teen on phone

“It’s the responsibility of the parents to get control of this and guide their children, from a young age, on the positives and negatives of screen time,” says Christine Kyriakakos Martin (www.youvegotthisparenting.com), an early education expert and author of You’ve Got This! Keys To Effective Parenting For The Early Years.

“Parents can often think it’s acceptable for a young child to spend a couple hours with an iPad, but the type of education the iPad game is providing isn’t always the type of learning most needed at that stage.”

Martin has suggestions for how parents can manage screen time and decrease a child’s risk for screen-related health or developmental problems:

girl with bubbles

Distinguish screen time from play time. Play is a fundamental learning tool for young children, but parents, Martin says, should not think of screens as toys for play time. “When screen time is limited and separated from other types of play, parents show their children the importance of setting boundaries, using their imaginations, and being active.”

Get involved. Parents who engage with their children about on-screen activities can help them increase their communication skills and teach them how to navigate digital media. “Parents can talk with their children about the videos they watch and games they play like they would discuss characters and plot lines in a book,” Martin says. “When there is parental engagement like this, a child’s vocabulary and literacy skills develop and family communication gets stronger.”

family dinner

Make mealtimes screen-free. “Eliminate screens from the meal table, including when you’re out at a restaurant,” Martin says. “While it can be tempting to pack the iPads to have some adult conversation while you’re out to eat, doing this doesn’t teach your children about manners, properly engaging in conversation, or being mindful of other patrons.”

Set a good example. It will be harder for a child to disengage from screens if his or her parents are consistently looking down at their own phones or tablets. “Remember,” Martin says, “your children learn from your example. If they see you spending a lot of time with your face in front of a screen, they’ll also want to use technology at the same time. Try your best to save your time on social media for your lunch break, during nap time, or after your children have gone to bed.”

water fight

“Learning how to use screens, verbally communicate or socially interact will have a positive impact on language skills, relationships and overall health,” Martin says. “Spending time with their parents, learning through play is what young children need and want.”

About the Author:

Christine Kyriakakos Martin is the author of You’ve Got This! Keys To Effective Parenting For The Early YearsAn early education expert and consultant, Martin is the founder and owner of Sunshine Preschool in Hopkinton, Mass. She has spoken on child-development topics at national education conventions and colleges.

Recipe for Mindfulness, Thanks to the Ultimate Mindfulness Activity Book!

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook, free of charge,from Book review buzz/
via netgalley, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it,  all opinions are my own.

                   Kick-start and sustain a fun mindfulness practice with kids and teens.


Give kids lasting life skills to de-stress and calm down, navigate difficult emotions, control impulses, focus on what matters, and nurture empathy, kindness, and joy.
In Ultimate Mindfulness Activity Book you will find:
- 150+ playful mindfulness activities
- Tools for calm, focus, joy, kindness, and emotional intelligence and regulation
- A 21-step guide to kick-start and sustain your practice together
- Inspirational examples of how mindfulness makes positive change
- Easy to understand explanations on how to explain mindfulness to kids and youth
- A FREE audio course for grown-ups and more

This book is aimed at parents, but I think teachers would get more out of it. the exercises really are aimed more at elementary years, where teachers have more time to do group exercises and one on one time, and could easily implement many of these. But having said that, because some of them are so short, even teens could do them in a homeroom, and start the day off on the right 'mind' foot. many of the exercises are ones we've done before, and I know they can be very helpful. The variety allows you to find the fit for YOUR family and child. Definitely check this out if you need help getting a child to focus!

About the Author:
During a long adoption phase Chris searched for the best children’s mindfulness techniques to help his child. Chris tried more than 200 mindfulness activities for kids and teens. He made an amazing discovery: mindfulness could be made both simple and playful—and if mindfulness was made playful it would be enjoyable and it would actually stick! Mindfulness has helped the whole family experience more moments of family peace, heartfelt connection, and laughs. 

Chris is the founder of BlissfulKids.com, a blog dedicated to children’s mindfulness, and a dad who is thrilled to practice mindfulness with his son. He is a certified mindfulness facilitator and trained to teach mindfulness to students in K-12. He’s also an executive consultant and has taught meditation for more than 15 years.

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