As a homeschool parent, I want to challenge my children. I want to provide them with opportunities not available to students in brick-and-mortar schools. I spent a lot of time researching and seeking out course work and math curricula that was engaging and challenging.
Years ago, a homeschool colleague shared with me that her 14 year old daughter had taken the college placement exam and had enrolled in Math 111. I immediately wanted to know what math curricula she had used. “Life of Fred,” she replied. “Chloe worked through the Pre-Algebra series and Beginning Algebra on her own.”
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Each Life of Fred text is written in the style of a novel with a humorous story line. This was very appealing to my oldest, an avid reader. Each section tells part of the life of Fred Gauss, a five year old who teaches math at KITTENS University in Kansas. The story shares how, in the course of his life, Fred encounters the need for the math and then learns the methods.
As she progressed through the books, she gradually transitioned away from direct instruction whereby I was teaching concepts to her and began to rely more on her own reading. She became an independent learner.
Never again hear the question which many math students proclaim: “When are we ever gonna use this stuff?” or “Math is boring!”
Life of Fred makes this possible not only through story but with tons of solved examples. Each hardcover textbook contains ALL of the material – more than most instructors cover in traditional classroom settings.
We meet with Fred daily and have really enjoyed his adventures. I thought I’d share our experience with Life of Fred since people often have a lot of questions about it.
What I Love About Life of Fred Math Curricula
I love the story nature of the text and real life problem approach. Fred encounters a need for the math and then uses it, usually within the context of a humorous situation.
It encourages a different approach to attacking a problem. Students are encouraged to think.
Less drill and more complex problems. This lessens boredom and fatigue and leads to increased accuracy.
The texts are non-consumable; I can use them with both kids. I’ve never been a fan of workbooks; I love that they work out the problems on ordinary notebook paper.
The cost is budget friendly. The middle school texts are just $17 and the high school texts start at just $28 at Educents. You can’t go wrong even if you just wanted to try it out.
Life of Fred Math Curricula for Middle School
My kiddos had completed the Singapore Math curricula series for elementary and middle school, so this is where we actually started. They were immediately hooked on Fred’s story and have loved to read about his humorous antics.
Once you know:
- the addition tables
- the subtraction tables
- the multiplication tables
- long division
… you are ready to start Life of Fred Fractions, the first book in the Pre-Algebra series.
Who is it for? 5th – 9th grades
Concepts covered: Savings and Expenses, Sectors, Comparing & Reducing Fractions, Roman Numerals, Least Common Multiples, Improper Fractions, Commutative Law, Decimals, Functions and Inverse Functions, Pi, Sets and Subsets, Union and Intersection of Sets, Rules of Divisibility, Bar Graphs & Pie Charts, Prime and Composite Numbers, Consecutive Numbers, the Goldbach Conjecture, Conversion between Percents/ Fractions/ Decimals, Square Roots, Ratio, Ordered Pairs, Negative Numbers, Elapsed Time, Probability, and more!
Titles in this series: Fractions, Decimals & Percents, Pre-Algebra with Physics, Pre-Algebra with Biology, Pre-Algebra with Economics
Life of Fred Math Curricula for High School
My kiddos were already familiar with Fred’s style and approach to problem solving as they had previously completed the Pre-Algebra series. They loved that they weren’t required to do a bunch of drill-and-kill problems. When they struggled with a concept, they simply re-read the chapter.
My daughter is currently using the Advanced Algebra text. When she was about mid-way through the text, she actually made the decision herself to begin it again. We had been doing a lot of traveling and she hadn’t been going through the lessons regularly. Repeating the textbook helped to clarify the concepts that were previously foggy for her or that she didn’t recall from earlier readings.
If you …
- have finished the Life of Fred Pre-Algebra books
- have used another algebra program
- have used Saxon Math Algebra 1 and/or 2
… you are ready to start the first book in the high school series, Beginning Algebra.
Concepts covered: Division by Zero, Venn Diagrams, Cramer’s Rule, Inequalities, Imaginary Numbers, Variation, Laws of Exponents, Four-dimensional Geometry, Non-Euclidean Geometry, Sines, Cosines and Tangents, Conditional Trig Equations, Functions of Two Angles, and much more!
Titles in this series: Zillions of Practice Problems: Beginning Algebra,