March 9, 2016

Life of Fred: The Scoop on Why We Like it and How to Get Started

Life of Fred: Why We Like It and How to Get Started
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As many of you know by now, we made the decision to add Life of Fred math series to our curriculum this year for Little Britches (age 10). I made this decision after continually hearing the program mentioned as "life changing" in regards to a child's math awareness. Little Britches has struggled to identify math as being useful in the real world--you know, besides the normal times math shows up--and I wanted him to see how math is relevant all the time! Little Britches also does NOT do well with the standard way math is taught through textbooks, worksheets, and brain numbing facts. He's also an auditory learner who thinks outside of the box. Thus, the primary reason Life of Fred appealed to me was the proclamation that it was storybook form, teaching more than just math, and most of was fun! 

We gave Life of Fred a try when we started school back in September 2015 (we began at the beginning of the series) and are now on the 10th book (Jelly Beans). We are in LOVE and Little Britches has rapidly gained speed and confidence in his math comprehension thanks to Fred making it real and keeping it FUN and INTERESTING. Fred even introduces advanced math concepts early on--making them not scary. Remember how many kids hated algebra because of introducing the concept of x and y? Fred introduces them in the very first book (which is set for a Kindergarten level)--which means by the time you get to the algebra focused book--x and y are old friends! Life of Fred does this with all kinds of advanced math concepts!
Sigma Notations! Introduced very casually in elementary math--and something I never learned in school!

Casting out nines to verify answers for multiplication--I didn't learn this either!
Fred is out of the box math. If you are wanting worksheets and drilling--look somewhere else! Life of Fred is a continuous story from one book to the next--did you see that? STORY! Life of Fred is a chapter book and a silly story, that just happens to have math concepts woven throughout the plot! If your child does better with creativity, read alouds (or reading in general), and looking at the world of math away from textbooks--you really need to consider trying out Life of Fred!
Sample of what the story looks like in part of Jelly Beans
It doesn't matter if you are a public schooler or homeschooler--this program can be done in under 30 minutes of time--and it WILL boost your child's math knowledge! There is also a whole HOST of other subject matter that is woven throughout the book--bits of fabulous random information that can take you on delightful rabbit trails! And did I mention character studies? These books teach morals and character too as Fred investigates this world he lives in.

So what should you expect from the Life of Fred books? 
How do you pick where to start? 
Here is a Life of Fred Buyer's Guide from Educents to help you navigate the world of Fred--including videos, customer reviews, blog review links, sample pages, and more!

Complete Life of Fred Buyer's Guide - by
So, why are the Life of Fred books gaining popularity? The books follow Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius, during his exciting adventures which encounter every day math situations. Children actually want to read these books. Your child can start using these books when it's time to learn how to read, and your child can continue learning with Fred all the way to college! For a complete overview of the entire collection, check out each series of books below.

Life of Fred Elementary Math Series

Buyer's Guide Life of Fred Blog Post (2)
Life Of Fred is like no other math program out there. It's a story that begins with book one, and continues all the way through high school. It includes every other subject, such as science, history, geography, and more. Each book contains short, 4 to 6-page chapters, and usually is less than 20 chapters per book. This makes it possible for each child to go at a pace comfortable for them.

Who is it for? Kindergarten to 4th grade
Concepts covered: time, types of numbers, geometry, measurement, facts about stars, Morse code, geography, adjectives and verbs, patterns, functions, sheet music, seven wonders of the world, math poems, percents, numbers vs. numerals, division, slope of a line, graphing, notation, the improper use of seat belts, how to prove you are not a duck, reducing fractions, and so much more.

Titles in this series: Apples, Butterflies, Cats, Dogs, Edgewood, Farming, Goldfish, Honey, Ice Cream, Jelly Beans
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More about the Elementary Math Books:
Life of Fred Elementary Math books are discounted on
  • "This is my first year home schooling and I wish I had found Fred earlier. My son loves to read, so Life of Fred makes math a cinch to teach now." -Shanna, homeschooler
  • "I see a light shining bright from within my son that was almost extinguished completely. As he watched me place the order for the complete elementary set of Life Of Fred, I said 'I can't wait to see how Fred starts, and I want to see how it ends too, so be ready to order more!' I smiled and assured him that not only would Fred be part of his learning as long as he desired, but that Fred would be gift wrapped for Christmas presents this year for his niece and nephew, my 2 grandchildren. No more costly potholes for this family!!" -Janet, homeschooler
  • "My granddaughter, who truly dislikes math, always wants to start the day with Fred. I have to stop her after four chapters. She would do the entire book in a day if allowed. I never thought I could use math class as a reward! And she is learning besides." -Bette, homeschooler
  • Life of Fred Math Books in Carisa’s Homeschool
  • The Complete Guide to Using Life of Fred Homeschool Math
  • Featured on Cathy Duffy's 102 Top Picks
  • Samples: Apples, Butterflies, Cats

Life of Fred Intermediate Math Series

Life of Fred Buyer's Guide - Educents
Designed for students under age 10, but already finished the Life of Fred elementary book series. Best for students who can add, subtract, and who understand multiplication and division.

Who is it for? 3rd to 7th grade
Concepts covered: Milliliters, writing numerals in checks ($4000 and not $40.00), idioms, 1/4 + 1/4 +1/4 = 3/4, elapsed time, metaphors, milligrams and pounds, rounding numbers, three-eights of 19,416, and more!
Titles in this series: Kidneys, Liver, Mineshaft
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More about the Intermediate Math Books:

Life of Fred Intermediate Math books are discounted on
  • “I was not so sure on these books. I heard a lot of good reviews but after we got them, just skimming through I wasn't sure my 9 year old daughter would like them. I was WRONG! she really likes them! They move at a pace she likes and being one continuous story about Fred's life keeps her interested and entertained. We will be back for more soon. She just finished Kidneys and is now on Liver.” -Melisa W., Homeschooler
  • Samples: Kidneys, Liver, Mineshaft

Life of Fred Intro to Algebra Series

Life of Fred Buyer's Guide - Educents
If your student can solve these equations: 5 + 8, 8 – 5, 7 times 8, 6231 divided by 93, then he or she is ready for the Fractions title. It also might be time for you to begin using a very basic calculator to complete these lessons.

Who is it for? 6th to 12th grade
Concepts covered: less than, cardinal and ordinal numbers, adding and subtraction fractions, lines of symmetry, geometric figures, circumference, reducing fractions, sets and subsets, probability, consecutive numbers, repeating decimals, area of a triangle, square roots, ordered pairs, and more!
Titles in this series: Fractions, Decimals and Percents
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More about the Intro to Algebra Books:

Life of Fred Pre-Algebra Series

Life of Fred Buyer's Guide - Educents
Fred does physics before algebra. What’s the difference between math and physics? In this series, students use math and science to solve quirky, real world scenarios - all while having fun with Fred of course!

Who is it for? 3rd to 7th graders
Concepts covered: numerals, area of a rectangle, the speed of light, nine forms of energy, Hooke’s law, static versus kinetic friction, photosynthesis, metric system, Gregorian calendar, conversion factors, unit analysis, freedom versus liberty, steps in solving word problems, venn diagrams, germination of seeds, digestion, negative numbers, whole numbers, chromosomes, DNA, circumference of a circle, and more!
Titles in this series: Pre-Algebra 0 with Physics, Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology, and Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics
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More about the Pre-Algebra books:

Life of Fred High School Math Series

Life of Fred Buyer's Guide - Educents
Life of Fred is preparing for college! In this series, students learn algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and a few other lessons from Fred. The Zillions of Practice books are keyed directly to the chapters and topics in the associated book. Each problem is worked out in complete detail to offer additional help for a student who may have gotten stuck along Fred’s mathematical journey.

Who is it for? 8th to 12th grade
Concepts covered: infinite numbers, ratios, graphs, plotting points, averages, multiplying polynomials, solving fractional equations, Pythagorean theorem, milkshake marketing, absolute value, surface area of a cone, imaginary numbers, slopes of perpendicular lines, complex fractions, linear equations, Cramer’s rule, ellipses, graphing in three dimensions, geometric sequences, Pascal’s Triangle, right triangles, quadrilaterals, entrepreneurship, geography of Kansas, piano music, sines, cosines, functions of two angles, a preview of calculus, and more!!
Titles included in the series: Beginning Algebra, Zillions of Practice Problems for Beginning Algebra, Advanced Algebra, Zillions of Practice Problems for Advanced Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry
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More about the High School Math books:

Life of Fred College Math Series

Life of Fred Buyer's Guide - Educents
This series is geared toward advanced high school math students, students preparing for college, or any adult who wants to brush up on their math skills while reading fun stories. Students will learn calculus, statistics, linear algebra, and advanced math puzzles (equations, not word problems).

Who is it for? 9th grade to adults
Concepts covered: functions, speed, slope, curvature, polar coordinates, Bayes’ Theorem, probability, descriptive statistics, field guides, solving systems of equations, vector spaces, linear functionals, math theory, abstract arithmetic, and more!
Titles included in the series: Calculus, Statistics, Linear Algebra, and Five Days of Upper Division Math
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More about the College Math books:

Life of Fred Financial Choices

Life of Fred Buyer's Guide - Educents
Let Fred help you teach your children about financial management, decisions, and choices. It's very likely that you, the adult, will pick up a tip or two while teaching.

Who is it for? Useful for middle school kids all the way to adults
Concepts covered: entrepreneurship, spending, investing, retirement, debt, calculating interest, how to start a business, insurance, taxes, real estate, successful spending habits, stocks, mortgages, REITS, mutual funds, and more!
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More about the Financial Choices book:

Did you know there are also Life of Fred Language Arts and Science books too? These were created because people demanded more subjects written like the math books, and these are gaining popularity too! There are 18 books in the Beginning readers series, 4 books in the Language Arts series, and a Life of Fred Chemistry (biology and physics are part of the pre-algebra series!). If your kids love Life of Fred math and you want to apply the same philosophy to other subjects, you might give these a whirl too!

If you are looking for something different to expand your child's math understanding...if you are looking for an out-of-the-box math program that will make your kids want more...if you are looking for a unique perspective on math that will make math real and applicable without drilling and worksheets...if you want math to be FUN really should give Life of Fred a try! And guess what? YOU might learn something new too! I sure have!
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