Life of Fred: Decimals & Percents
$19.00
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9780979107207
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 Lauren C on Mar 28, 2018
 Purchased on May 20, 2016
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 Lauren C on Mar 28, 2018
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 Carol M on Mar 26, 2018
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Category Description for Life of Fred Middle / High School Series
Show MoreEven before we had a description of this math program on our website or in our catalog, we had many, many inquiries about it (and a goodly number of sales). Is it the name? Is it the concept of a small, pointynosed 5year old teaching Calculus at Kittens University? Is it the outrageous storyline? Or are people desperate for another approach to math? Although I was the one who reviewed and decided to carry this program, I was initially skeptical about its scope. After all, much of the text was given over to following the Life of Fred, with all the strange humor and unlikely scenarios that go along with it. In fact, that's part of the attraction for a student who really doesn't enjoy math (yes, I have one of those). So, could the course possibly have the content that a more traditional text (like Saxon) has? Moreover, what type of person would actually use this course, as entertaining and whimsical as it is (if you can think whimsy and Calculus in one thought). Well, after using Life of Fred for Beginning Algebra and reading through most of the Fractions book, I think I can answer some of these questions.
First, Fred IS the unlikely mathematician in all of us. Despite his youth and other cards stacked against him (you'll have to read the books to understand this), Fred is amazingly successful as a math professor. Why? It's because he finds math so intriguing, entertaining, and downright USEFUL in everyday life (his life, the Life of Fred). Why, math is everywhere in the world of Fred and no matter how things are going, he can always see the math in it.
Then, there's the psychology of Fred. You want to help the little guy. I mean, he's smart, but so innocent, kind, helpful, endearing small, helpless, underweight (why, when he was erroneously inducted into the army, they had to use a little cup instead of a helmet for his uniform!). Clearly the underdog in many situations, Fred has ended up in the hospital in both books I've read even though one injury was accidental. But I digress. You do get wrapped up in the Life of Fred. And because you're rooting for him and concerned about him, you kind of get taken up in the math that pervades his thoughts. No matter how tough the Life of Fred gets, he always has time to explain the finer points of math to those needy souls around him. Don't get me wrong, Fred has plenty of fun, too. He always makes the best of things and has some great student/friends at Kittens who also seem to need math in their everyday lives.
These are, indeed, the most unconventional fullprogram math texts I've ever seen. Maybe that's why students who dislike traditional programs are so drawn to LOF. The books just seem more accessible and well, friendly. Maybe it's just the author's personality or particular gift, but students who are turned off by traditional math seem to find refreshment and even inspiration in LOF. Although you may have read some debate on whether the series is too lightweight for a basal program, my two cents is that it is not. The math is all here and then some. What is missing is repetition, redundancy, and a multitude of problems to work. These books are like my favorite college math text. When I first saw it, I thought it was too slim for a wholesemester course. Ha! Every word in that book was loaded. The text was so cunningly and concisely written that you actually had to study every word because nothing was repeated. While LOF isn't quite that concise (it does have a complete storyline along with the math), Dr. Schmidt doesn't waste words or your time. Every problem is almost like a brainteaser just a little out of your reach unless you truly grasp the concepts. It gives you a chance to figure things out for yourself. There's a whole lot of brainstretching going on. Therefore, gifted math students are also drawn to these courses as they allow them to be challenged. Another good candidate for LOF is the remedial student who has already been through the course using another text. If it just didn't click, I would try this one. Finally, a motivated or independent student would also appreciate using the course. It's purposely addressed to the student and intended to be selfteaching. In fact, the author prefers that students use these with very little help from you so they can learn to study and understand on their own. Even the solutions are addressed to the student. In fact, there's a lot of actual instruction in the solutions, which students should read after trying to solve problems on their own. In short, just about EVERY student could use this program. The only shortfall I have seen in the program is for students who really need a lot of constant repetition and reinforcement. In some sections there are just not enough problems, even using the Home Companion. I had this problem twice in Beginning Algebra as serious as it needs to be. I both made up some of my own problems and supplemented with problems from Saxon Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 (some of the material is actually more advanced than in that series). I have since run across several other supplemental products that I could have used as well.
Life of Fred is a series of 12 courses. Two of these are Fractions and Decimals & Percents. The author recommends waiting to start these until your child is old enough to work on his/her own (about 5th grade). Each of these courses should take less than a quarter of a year to complete. The new LOF PreAlgebra 1 with Biology is formatted like the previous books, with BRIDGES rather than CITIES. It would fit in a teaching sequence between Fractions and Decimals & Percents and Beginning Algebra. You can get a good idea of what is taught in the course and the proportion of biology to algebra by checking out the table of contents on our website. Literally a "dream come true", Fred is every bit as entertaining while teaching biology as he is when teaching math! While this course will not replace high school biology, it will replace much of the biology instruction in a general science course. PreAlgebra 2 with Economics completes the prealgebra instruction, this time delving into topics such as interest rates, competition, opportunity costs, supply and demand. Following the same format as the Fractions, Decimals & Percents and PreAlgebra 1 and 2, Dr. Schmidt has released PreAlgebra 0 with Physics (formerly Elementary Physics). This book fits nicely into the Life of Fred sequence between Decimals & Percents and PreAlgebra 1. Dr. Schmidt feels that too much time is lost before presenting physics in high school and this book is designed as an introduction to fill that gap. Algebra and Advanced Algebra should each take a little more than half a year. While Geometry takes place during one day in the Life of Fred (a Thursday after his sixth birthday), it is definitely a full year course. Trigonometry can be completed in half of a year and Calculus (although covering two full years of calculus) will take one year. According to Mr. Schmidt, after this progression "you will be ready to declare as a math major at a university at the upper division level and take thirdyear (juniorlevel) mathematics courses". For even more Life of Fred, there is also a Statistics course which "has much more material than is normally covered in a beginning university statistics course". It's been years since my required course as a business major at a university I may just take this one myself. Partly to test the author's assertion and partly because life is full of decisions and, as the author says, "Success in life is 90% making the right decisions in the first place" (the other 10% is carrying them out). Also new is Linear Algebra (as serious as it needs to be). Scanning through the book, it looks a lot like an upperlevel course called Finite Math that I took in college. It covers: solving systems of equations with one solution (includes GaussJordan elimination, Gaussian elimination), many solutions, and no solution (includes data fitting); matrices; vector spaces; inner product spaces (including Fourier series and GramSchmidt orthogonalization process); linear transformations; and systems of equations into the future (including eigenvalues, stochastic matrices, Markov chains, Fibonacci numbers) It is described by Dr. Schmidt as a math course required by most colleges for math majors and should be taught after Calculus As far as progression, Dr. Schmidt has placed it at the very end of his other courses, after Statistics. Like other upperlevel courses, this one has "Your Turn to Play" sections separating textual chunks. Each chapter ends with six CITIES. There is a separate answer key for answers not included in the text.
Organization and format of the books is similar; of course, they all have a captivating storyline centering on Fred Gauss, a very young university math professor. The author, Stanley F. Schmidt, Ph.D., is a witty guy, a good storyteller, and he also loves math. Unlike many programs, the text is not written at a 6th grade level. If anything, the text is imbued with a little "extra" knowledge in different areas especially vocabulary. Dr. Schmidt also appears to be a Christian man. Although his books aren't preachy and in places tend toward gritty realism, you will find a strong plug for goodness here, along with a main character who says his prayers every night. Fractions, Decimals and Percents, and the PreAlgebra books are structured a little differently than the upperlevel books. Chapters in these are short (as are the books), ending with a Your Turn to Play problem set, followed by complete solutions with explanation. Generally, after every five chapters, there's a BRIDGE taking you from the culmination of the preceding chapters to the new material. Actually, there are five BRIDGES your student has five tries to make it across the BRIDGE. These contain a tenquestion review of everything learned to that point. Mr. Schmidt recommends that students get at least nine out of ten right to move on. Answers to these are in the back of the book. The final BRIDGE has 15 questions (20 in Decimals) and, again, five tries to pass. This gives a student ample opportunity to go back, study the material, and try again without feeling like they've failed. It is builtin remediation, rather than just failing and still going on (isn't this also the way we train our children? If they don't get it right, they need to correct and do it again). Starting in Beginning Algebra, chapters are longer. For courses with the Home Companion available (Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry), this book breaks the chapters into bitesized lessons. Natural breaks occur when the student encounters a Your Turn to Play (series of problems with completelyworked solutions following), but the Companions also provide sets of problems for each lesson in between. There are 108 lessons as laid out in the Fred's Home Companion Beginning Algebra study guide, but many of these are short; most students would combine some of them. By comparison, Saxon has 120 lessons, but this does not include testing whereas LOF's lesson count does. At the end of each chapter there are six CITIES (which all have names so you can assign a student to do Palmetto and Radcliffe for homework). Actually, I'm not sure why they have names but, as with BRIDGEs, these determine whether to move forward. They have some review material from previous chapters, but are largely chapter recaps. They take roughly 2030 minutes to complete and, again, give your student a chance to test, review, and test again (or you might work the first two cities together, assign the next two, and use the final two as tests). The first two CITIES have all answers provided; the next two have only odd answers shown; the last two have none. All answers not in the text are in the Home Companion or Answer Key. The back of each upperlevel book (except Calculus) has an A.R.T. section (All Reorganized Together) containing definitions, formulae, theorems postulates all the stuff you'd like summarized in one handy place together for easy reference. The Life of Fred actually begins in the Calculus as serious as it needs to be book (in which Fred is born), the first written (in 2001). Unlike the other volumes, it has all the Your Turn to Play questions and answers in the back and a Further Ado section containing even more rigorous material for you to include at your discretion. Possibly because this volume was originally written for college students, the material is edgier in this first book (Fred's dad drinks, his family is somewhat dysfunctional, and there are other allusions to drugs, alcohol and "hanky panky"). You may wish to skim ahead of your student and "edit" anything unsatisfactory.
So far, I'm giving a thumbs up to this unique (and slightly eccentric) math program. It has made math more palatable (and interesting) for my daughter. It has some unusual and novel approaches to problem solving (like a simple, foolproof method for factoring trinomials where the squared term has a coefficient > 1 instead of the guess and check approach employed in other books). It incorporates critical thinking and a discovery approach to math by its very nature. It integrates the value of learning in other curricular areas. It teaches math in the context of real life okay, real life uses for math in a kind of surreal life. And, who wouldn't like a math book that begins, "Hi! This is going to be fun," then follows through on that promise? Visit www.stanleyschmidt.com for other Raves from Readers or to find out more about the content of the books or even to contact the author directly. (You can even read some of Mr. Schmidt's 8:30 prayers). I'm not sure how Dr. Schmidt can include his home phone number on his website and encourage people to email and phone him with questions, but I have read several testimonies to his responsiveness. For a full scope and sequence, visit our website and take a peek at the table of contents for each level.
As a teacher, I have obviously enjoyed this course. But my daughter, Janine, has never had the innate appreciation for math that I do. Let's ask her what she thought (or thinks we still have 14 lessons to go!). Here are her comments on Life of Fred Beginning Algebra as serious as it needs to be:
"I love Life of Fred because of, well, Fred! But also because this is the most creative math course I've ever seen. When I first looked at the math course, the thing that made me excited (besides the story) was not seeing millions of problems. Just a few, thoughtprovoking and even funny ones. In the lesson book, you'll only have one small page, then you can be done. The Cities don't even have that many problems. But they are all worth your time and unrepetitive, and most inspire a challenge or are a little puzzle. Mom didn't think it would be a fullfledged math course. But the more we've worked through it, I've seen that it's quite a bit harder and requires more thinking. No wonder it's been put on some "gifted" lists. Moving along..the writing is HILARIOUS! It's almost like Stanley Schmidt and I have the same sense of humor sometimes. I've read Fractions and most of Begininng Algebra and enjoyed both immensely. It's a ridiculous, bizarre little series, which makes me love it all the more! My brother likes it so much he showed it to his college friends.and of course they all laughed. The characters are amazing, and the illustrations (especially of Fred) are priceless. Stanley even has a little fun subtly (and not so subtly) teasing movies, doctors, math books and a whole myriad of things, and he has never failed at amusing me. Math was my most hated subject. And while I can't say that I had a complete turnaround and wake up every morning saying "YAY! I get to do math today! Wheeeeee!" I can say that Life of Fred has taken all the dullness out, keeps me captivated, and injected a lot of fun. I'd call it an art piece, if a math book can be an art piece. An amazing, amazing series, even more so considering we're talking about a math course."
Well, there you have it from teacher and student. Who says math can't be entertaining?

Reviews
Customer Reviews
5.0 / 5.03 Reviews5 Stars4 Stars3 Stars2 Stars1 Stars30000Better than a textbookMy daughters love Life of Fred! In each book, you learn a bit about Fred and all his adventures as he explains math concepts. The math is explained and applied in the story so you understand the point of learning it. The tests are short but not without a challenge. It proves that you don't need to drill with 100 problems just to learn a math concept. Was this review helpful? Yes (0) No (0)
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Fantastic!We LOVE Fred! The reason we learn math in school (or homeschool) is for the everyday application of math. Fred is full of that. There is no more "When will I ever USE this?!" Was this review helpful? Yes (0) No (0)
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Our family is crazy about LOF I purchased Fractions because my son was struggling with fractions using MathUSee Three months later he is a fraction whiz and asking when the decimal book will be in There is little teacher prep: prereading the entertaining lessons and grading the Bridges Most of the lessons are selftaught Children are encouraged to be independent and not rely on the instructor or parent in order to learn Of all the money I have spent on math curriculums LOF has been the BEST investment Was this review helpful? Yes (2) No (0)
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Q & A
Do not include HTML, links, references to other stores, pricing or contact info.My question is about:If your question is about more than one item, click + to add them.Browse 2 questions Browse 2 questions and 38 answersWhy did you choose this?Rainbow Resource Center Storesuggested by a friendElizabeth C on Mar 9, 2018My daughter enjoyed the elementary series of Fred.Seirah C on Jan 10, 201813yo daughter loves books and stories and was excited about these books for math and science; her 'notsofavorite' subjectsKristi C on Sep 3, 2017Our older sons enjoy math and reading; so, what better way than to combine the two worlds? They have only read the first book in the Life of Fred series, but for now I am supplementing for my 9 y.o. Perhaps soon we will have a windfall and order all of them. ;)Kimberly W on Jun 8, 2017Our kids ages 10 and 15 love LOF!!Sally B on Feb 23, 2017My daughter is more than halfway done with Life of Fred Fractions and she loves this series. I'm buying the rest of it so she can continue at her own pace. She is very motivated to do her best on the bridges and be able to move forward.Emily W on Jan 25, 2017My children did okay with this, but it is not comprehensive.Ashley P on Jan 6, 2017"Life of Fred has worked amazingly well as a math curriculum to help my son enjoy and understand math"Chaun M on Nov 30, 2016My kids love Life of Fred and his funny adventures. They fly through the "Your turn to play" questions and hardly realize they are doing math!Jennifer V on Sep 19, 2016I like the story elements in Fred which make it more thoughtprovoking than many other math curriculums we've tried.Melissa P on Apr 29, 2016My daughter enjoys using them. We use them as a math supplement & problem solving.Carl S on Mar 21, 2016Fun, love all Life of Fred books!Rachel C on Feb 25, 2016math has been a struggle for my children and the LOF series seems to work well for themNatalie W on Feb 4, 2016The purchase of this book is to continue with the Life of Fred book series.User on Jan 1, 2016We thoroughly enjoyed using the previous 5 Life of Fred books and want to continue on. Life of Fred: Fractions is the book after Life of Fred: Mineshaft and this book is after Fractions. We hope to use Life of Fred all of the way through high school or until we complete all of the books.Trisha G on Nov 24, 2015looking for different style of teaching for this topic."Aaron L on Nov 1, 2015like this program. Easy to use and son loves the story line.Matthew K on Sep 24, 2015suggested by a friendElizabeth C on Mar 9, 2018I chose this book because I needed a math curriculum that was more animated and storybased to hold my 6th graders attention.AMANDA W on Feb 27, 2018My daughter enjoyed the elementary series of Fred.Seirah C on Jan 10, 2018Have used all previous levels of LOF.Megan F on Sep 21, 201713yo daughter loves books and stories and was excited about these books for math and science; her 'notsofavorite' subjectsKristi C on Sep 3, 2017My 11yo is starting MathUSee Zeta in a couple weeks.Melissa M on Jun 19, 2017Our older sons enjoy math and reading; so, what better way than to combine the two worlds? They have only read the first book in the Life of Fred series, but for now I am supplementing for my 9 y.o. Perhaps soon we will have a windfall and order all of them. ;)Kimberly W on Jun 8, 2017My 6th grade daughter requested using the Decimals and Percents and PreAlgebra 0 over the summer, after a friend lent us Fractions last summer. She did around three lessons a day last time because she was eager to read the story. I got both books just in case she wanted to work quickly, or continue with Fred in the Fall. I think she would otherwise be unwilling to do math over the summer break.Jessica B on May 19, 2017Our kids ages 10 and 15 love LOF!!Sally B on Feb 23, 2017love fred.. kids love it too.. fun and real life experiences make it easy to remember.jennifer o on Jan 28, 2017My daughter is more than halfway done with Life of Fred Fractions and she loves this series. I'm buying the rest of it so she can continue at her own pace. She is very motivated to do her best on the bridges and be able to move forward.Emily W on Jan 25, 2017next book in our curriculumKELLY O on Jan 20, 2017My children did okay with this, but it is not comprehensive.Ashley P on Jan 6, 2017We chose this for its interesting format. The boys love it. However, in the high school years I went in with LofF but felt I needed to switch to Saxon because it was difficult to find the issue when my son got stuck and I tried to go back through the material with him to figure it out.User on Dec 14, 2016"Life of Fred has worked amazingly well as a math curriculum to help my son enjoy and understand math"Chaun M on Nov 30, 2016Life of Fred is a great way for those who love to read to learn to enjoy math.Rais C on Nov 18, 2016My kids love Life of Fred and his funny adventures. They fly through the "Your turn to play" questions and hardly realize they are doing math!Jennifer V on Sep 19, 2016highly recommended by fellow homeschool familyMelanie T on Jul 11, 2016I like the story elements in Fred which make it more thoughtprovoking than many other math curriculums we've tried.Melissa P on Apr 29, 2016Creative approachChristine D on Apr 10, 2016My daughter enjoys using them. We use them as a math supplement & problem solving.Carl S on Mar 21, 2016We ordered the fraction book and were very pleased with it.Susan M on Mar 3, 2016Fun, love all Life of Fred books!Rachel C on Feb 25, 2016My daughter enjoyed the story that goes along with the math in Life of Fred: Fractions, so I am purchasing the next book for her continued enjoyment/learning as a supplement to Singapore math.Alyssa G on Feb 10, 2016math has been a struggle for my children and the LOF series seems to work well for themNatalie W on Feb 4, 2016We have done all the LOF books starting at Apples. We are almost done with Fractions so it's time to move on to Decimals and Percents. We love Fred :)Rachel R on Jan 22, 2016The purchase of this book is to continue with the Life of Fred book series.User on Jan 1, 2016child just finished mastering mathematics perfecting the point, good follow up and summer reviewrebecca l on Nov 29, 2015We thoroughly enjoyed using the previous 5 Life of Fred books and want to continue on. Life of Fred: Fractions is the book after Life of Fred: Mineshaft and this book is after Fractions. We hope to use Life of Fred all of the way through high school or until we complete all of the books.Trisha G on Nov 24, 2015"This product was recommended by other homeschooling moms that have tried several different curricula. "User on Nov 15, 2015looking for different style of teaching for this topic."Aaron L on Nov 1, 2015My daughter doesn't like math but likes to read.Laura Beth R on Oct 5, 2015like this program. Easy to use and son loves the story line.Matthew K on Sep 24, 2015I chose this book because I needed a math curriculum that was more animated and storybased to hold my 6th graders attention.AMANDA W on Feb 27, 2018Have used all previous levels of LOF.Megan F on Sep 21, 2017My 11yo is starting MathUSee Zeta in a couple weeks.Melissa M on Jun 19, 2017My 6th grade daughter requested using the Decimals and Percents and PreAlgebra 0 over the summer, after a friend lent us Fractions last summer. She did around three lessons a day last time because she was eager to read the story. I got both books just in case she wanted to work quickly, or continue with Fred in the Fall. I think she would otherwise be unwilling to do math over the summer break.Jessica B on May 19, 2017love fred.. kids love it too.. fun and real life experiences make it easy to remember.jennifer o on Jan 28, 2017next book in our curriculumKELLY O on Jan 20, 2017We chose this for its interesting format. The boys love it. However, in the high school years I went in with LofF but felt I needed to switch to Saxon because it was difficult to find the issue when my son got stuck and I tried to go back through the material with him to figure it out.User on Dec 14, 2016Life of Fred is a great way for those who love to read to learn to enjoy math.Rais C on Nov 18, 2016highly recommended by fellow homeschool familyMelanie T on Jul 11, 2016Creative approachChristine D on Apr 10, 2016We ordered the fraction book and were very pleased with it.Susan M on Mar 3, 2016My daughter enjoyed the story that goes along with the math in Life of Fred: Fractions, so I am purchasing the next book for her continued enjoyment/learning as a supplement to Singapore math.Alyssa G on Feb 10, 2016We have done all the LOF books starting at Apples. We are almost done with Fractions so it's time to move on to Decimals and Percents. We love Fred :)Rachel R on Jan 22, 2016child just finished mastering mathematics perfecting the point, good follow up and summer reviewrebecca l on Nov 29, 2015"This product was recommended by other homeschooling moms that have tried several different curricula. "User on Nov 15, 2015My daughter doesn't like math but likes to read.Laura Beth R on Oct 5, 2015Is this the book we should move to after the mineshaft book?A shopper on Mar 26, 2018BEST ANSWER: Fractions comes next, then Decimals and Percents. then the PreAlgebra books. Usually at the end of each book, he lists which books come next in the series.
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 Inaccurate
 Lauren C on Mar 28, 2018
 Purchased on May 20, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Fractions comes next, then Decimals and Percents. then the PreAlgebra books. Usually at the end of each book, he lists which books come next in the series. Reply
 Inaccurate
 Lauren C on Mar 28, 2018
 Purchased on May 20, 2016
Life of Fred Fractions is after Mineshaft. Decimals & Percents is a continuation of Fractions. Enjoy Fred's crazy antics! Reply
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 Carol M on Mar 26, 2018
 Purchased on Jul 24, 2016
I believe the book fractions comes after mine shaft and before decimals and percents. Reply
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 Mikkelyn A on Mar 26, 2018
 Purchased on Jun 29, 2016
Fractions comes first then Decimals and percent. Reply
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 Marla S on Mar 26, 2018
 Purchased on Aug 24, 2016
Vote for the best answer above! 
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