Life of Fred: The story of fractions has never been told like this.
At a glance:
Grade level: elementary
Use as: supplement or stand alone
Instruction time: dependent on student understanding
Prep time: low
Cost: $19.00 per book
I have so many wonderful things to say about Life of Fred that I hardly know where to begin. So, let’s start at the beginning: the table of contents. The book is divided into 32 chapters with a Bridge or review that appears after every five chapters. The chapters are laid out in a logical fashion each building on the one before while reviewing past skills for reinforcement.
This is a very interesting math book as it is not simply a textbook but a story as well. My daughter is very creative and a visual learner; therefore she can be very abstract in her thinking at times. For her, seeing equations sitting in front of her in black and white made her head spin with boredom and frustration. However, Life of Fred, not only hits on traditional methods by providing problems to solve but tickles the mind of an abstract thinker by using a story to format or picture the how and why behind the equation. The chapters are laid out in easy chunks with drawings and a storyline to break things up. A student of math needs to understand the real life applications in order to gain a full understanding. Life of Fred provides this for the student.
So who is Fred? Fred is a 5 ½ year old boy who takes your child on a journey through fractions. The child studies fractions through Fred’s life experiences. Fred is a boy genius who teaches math on a college level. His stories are adorable and present real life scenarios which are solved my math. Each chapter engages the student with real life applications and short but challenging math equations to solve.
Although I listed this a stand alone, I will warn you that what I really mean is that you use this book to supplement or you supplement the book. Meaning? If you have a student that needs extra practice in fractions this is a terrific way to rehash without the student feeling like she is rehashing. If you use this book as your primary source, take note the practices are very short and you may have to assign more work or use manipulatives to ensure a proper understanding. If you have a student who learns quickly and does not require much extra work then this may be a perfect fit.
I would be remiss to fail to mention that the author, Stanley F. Schmidt, is a delightful man. I ordered the book directly from his site, which is the best method. The shipping is already included in the $19.00. Dr. Schmidt encourages you to email him with any questions. I emailed him to let him know that my daughter, who hated fractions, started to read this on her own and didn’t put it down until chapter 5, in one sitting. I just had to thank the man who created a book that inspired my daughter in fractions! He emailed me back right away with a very kind note thanking me for my comments. So, if you are looking for an engaging math book, try Life of Fred. The fractions book is the first in a seven book series going all the way to Calculus. To see sample pages from this book, click here.
Written by Richele, classical and Charlotte Mason inspired, homeschooling mom, to four reflections of God’s love. She blogs at www.underthegoldenappletree.blogspot.com.