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Life Of Fred Books

This year my fourth grader and I are having some fun living math lessons a few days a week using the Life Of Fred Fractions book. The Life Of Fred books are quite catchy and well written for children, and they cover so much more then math!

Fred happens to be a 5.5 year old little boy who’s all ready in university.  Throughout the     books you learn various math concepts by reading Fred’s stories.

In the fraction book it starts out slow and simple and you cover greater then and less then, most likely a familiar topic to someone in fourth grade. You quickly move on to billion, diameter & radius, and so on until you reach fractions.

Once you reach the information about fractions you learn how to do all sorts of fun things with them. Write checks, reducing fractions, adding fractions, subtracting fractions and more.

The fun thing about Fred is you aren’t given a dry boring lesson and then asked to complete countless worksheets. No, you’re given a humors story often full of other useful information. At the end of each short chapter there are 6-10 questions to answer to show if you remember what you learned.

The book even works in review or quizzes, but they call them bridges. I mean, who doesn’t love to cross a bridge? It sounds far less intimidating then “Quiz” doesn’t it?

What we like about the Fred Books:

  • We love the short simple chapters & fun engaging story.
  • We like that there are only a few questions at the end of each chapter, but those questions can cover a mixed bag of topics.
  • I love that my son loves the book and is learning at the very same time.
  • I also love that these are non-consumable hardback books. That means I can reuse them with both of my children without having to repurchase them.

What we didn’t like about the Fred Books:

  • Honestly, so far we’ve yet to meet any part we didn’t like, but I do think that there will be some drawbacks for some people.
  • The questions happen to be on the same page the answers at the end of each chapter. Bridge answers are on the back of the book. This isn’t a problem for us as I often read out the problems to my son and he copies them onto notebooking paper. You could easily cover up the answers with a sheet of paper or a large post-it note if you were unhappy with this.
  • Because the author is American and American’s use the imperial system you’ll find that most of the terms will swing in that direction. {ie pound not kilo, inches not centimeters, etc.} I never hold that against a book, but I always feel it’s fair to let people know.

Common Questions About Fred:

Can I use this on it’s own or is it just an extra?

Honestly, I’ve seen families use it both ways. For us we’re using it as an extra. I like to teach my kids a lot of math topics in a year, but I like to really focus in on one topic to give them a great foundation and build their confidence. I think the Fred books really help in that area.

I want to use this on it’s own but there’s only about 36 – 40 days worth of lessons, what should I do?

You could expand on the lessons by incorporating other fun living math things into the lessons. For instance in lesson two you learn about a billion. You see what it looks like in both numbers and words. You also learn the importance of writing numbers with letters and not just numbers. You could focus in on number words throughout the week and also offer your child worksheets on skills they all ready have in math in order to drag it out. Another option would be to use several Fred books in one year.

The Fred stories seem a little bit cheesy, are you sure we’ll learn from it?

Absolutely! If you have a sense of humor you’re going to love these books. If you enjoy something, chances are you’re going to learn from it. My 4th grader has been the intended student for these books, but I’ve caught my 2nd grader listening in several times and then attempting to quiz both of us later on in the day. So needless to say, I believe no matter how cheesy you find the stories you’ll learn from them. It doesn’t have to be hard to be educational.

Kendra lives in Tasmania Australia with her husband, the Man From Down Under, two curious boys, a dog, & a bird that constantly talks back. Creator, and avid user, of the Homeschool Book Of Days & The Nature Game she can be found retelling tales from The Land Down Under over at the Aussie Pumpkin Patch.

Kendra (42 Posts)

Kendra lives in Tasmania Australia with her husband, the Man From Down Under, her two curious boys, a dog that thinks he's human, a guinea pig that won't stop squeaking, & a bird learning to talk back. She's a second generation home educator. She loves using methods from Unit Studies to Boxed Curriculum and everything in between to help feed the curious minds of her two, ever growing, boys. Creator, and avid user, of the Homeschooling Book of Days & The Nature Game. She can be found retelling tales from The Land Down Under over at the Aussie Pumpkin Patch.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Katie August 24, 2011, 11:37 am

    Thanks for such a good review! Time4Learning, our online homeschool curriculum covers Math, and I think it does it fine. But my younger son finds math totally boring, no matter how interactive the lessons are, lol. We have been hearing a lot about the Life of Fred books lately, but I really like the fact that you are using them as a supplement to something else, which is what we would do! The fact that the stories are short, but still fun and funny, sounds very appealing. :)

    Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Sam @ The Kelley Eight August 24, 2011, 4:08 pm

    We just started LOF, and LOVE it! I was going to write about it here-but you have covered everything!

  • Kendra August 24, 2011, 4:19 pm

    Katie, yes we are just using it as a supplement a few times a week, and it works beautifully that way. 😀

    Sam, LOF is so much fun isn’t it! :)

  • Barb August 25, 2011, 3:56 pm

    My oldest likes Fred. We had no problems until Algebra and he would have troubles finding where a particular concept was covered. He used the supplemental book and the cross indexing is lacking. If the parent doesn’t know algebra you might want some sort of handy index or quick guide (like the ones on the rack at the pharmacy or bookstore or like these http://www.algebra-class.com/algebra-cheat-sheet.html ).

    We plan to continue with the books.

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