Life of Fred Elementary Package
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Category Description for Life of Fred Elementary Series
Great news for Life of Fred aficionados; Life of Fred has gone elementary! In author Professor Schmidt's own words, "Now you will be able to start the Life of Fred series with your child sitting on your lapand finish the series sitting on his/her lap!" It's as simple as ABCjust follow the books in alphabetical order by title. Children can start the series as soon as they know their addition and subtraction facts up to 10. While the entire series can be completed in just 12-18 months, Apples through Dogs was designed for grades 1-4, Edgewood through Jelly Beans for grades 2-4. Regardless of starting grade level, you will want to begin in Apples. So far, there are ten books to the series. Will there be Kittens through Zebras? Only time will tell.
I was sold even before I opened Apples by the picture of Archimedes (daughter Melissa's inner guide for matters of logic) on the cover. I could already tell that Prof. Schmidt was going to carry his tendency to instruct and inform on interesting tidbits (and people) into the series. Another pleasant discovery: no calculators allowed here. Until a child has cut his teeth on the building blocks of the addition and multiplication tables, just leave 'em in the box. Structured similarly to the upper levels, lessons are taught in a few pages of text, then it's "Your Turn to Play". Children write out their answers (emphasis by the author), read the solutions, and then move on to the next delightful adventure. The first book, Apples, contains 18 short chapters (lessons). Unlike the upper level books, there are no cities.
So, since Calculus actually begins as Fred does (at three days old), where in the life of Fred does this series fit in? As we begin the series, Fred is five, meaning he has been a professor at Kittens for as long. The closeness in age between Fred and the target audience should be a plus. In the course of ten books, we experience about a week in the Life of Fred. The series begins with simple addition facts and, in the very first story and short written exercise, students will learn:
1. Fred still sleeps with his Kingie doll (introduced in Calculus)
2. Fred sleeps in a sleeping bag in his office at Kittens
3. Beginning concepts of time
4. Dawn is variable; it gets light at different times depending on the season
5. 5 + 2 = 7
6. The relationship between numbers and quantities; a set of objects has the same number of objects regardless of position or arrangement
7. What an equals sign means
8. The answer to an addition problem won't change depending on the object(s) counted. Whether you are adding hours, pencils, or trees, 5 + 2 will still equal 7.
9. The commutative property of addition. It doesn't matter whether you add 5 + 2 or 2 + 5, you will still get 7.
10. x and y can stand in place of numbers (pre-algebra!)
Not bad for a start! In the next lesson, children learn: that Fred is neat (he puts his stuff away); what an ellipse is (and how to make one with a flashlight); more about the passage of time and addition; and that Fred's doll, Kingie, can draw better than Fred (he in fact becomes an accomplished oil painting artist). The YTTP in this section teaches more addition facts (in the context of adding Fred and Kingie's drawings), then the chapter ends by presenting the days of the week, both by name and addition fact (5 weekdays + 2 weekend days = 7 days of the week). As the book progresses, students learn more about months, seasons, days, time, addition, ellipses and other geometric shapes, the composition of the earth, Kansas, fish vs. whales, counting by 5's, temperature, negative numbers, deciduous trees, how to spell Wednesday and February, Archimedes (yay!), not to be rude, zero (and its properties), sets, that birds don't eat candy, chess moves, fractions, the Titanic, ducks can't add, the ≠ sign, circumscribed triangles, inscribed triangles, counting by hundreds (why not?), telling time by increments of 5 minutes, a dime = 10, and even get to see a real picture of Prof. Schmidt taking a nap! You get the picture. The books progress with a spiral approach, each one going deeper into math and other engaging facts and knowledge. Throughout them, Fred also exhibits normal childlike behaviors (playing at the table, mistaking a statue for a real lion, needing to sit on phone books to use his desk, along with positive character qualities (responsibility, love of God, cleanliness, desire to stay fit, a love for reading, a distaste for television, making wise choices, valuing truth and honesty, saying prayers at night, being thankful and content even in times of adversity, etc.) And each book will leave your students wanting to hear more about the life of Fred. As with the upper levels of this unusual curriculum, math principles and concepts are taught along with direct application. They are naturally integrated into the life of Fred. Can you see how the Professor cannily whets the student's appetite for future math discoveries? He gives them a small taste and, by doing so, makes the unknown familiar and waiting to be explored
I would be surprised if this doesn't become the math curriculum of choice for teachers using the Charlotte Mason approach. It comes closer to embodying her principles than any other math course I've seen. Other parents will enjoy its fresh approach to teaching with storytelling rather than starting a child off with pages of circling the groups of 7 or pages of addition problems to work. It emphasizes concept and understanding over rote problem solving. Even if you feel more secure using a more traditional math curriculum, I would strongly encourage you to also purchase the Life of Fred elementary series and read (and work it) with your child. It would be a painless complement that would not only reinforce and practice skills learned in your "regular" math course, but also prepare your child for higher level math concepts.
Customer Reviews5.0 / 5.019 ReviewsMath was my favorite subject in school In the small public and private schools that I attended I was always at the top of my class For two years I tutored math at the local community college So far it has not been my son's favorite subject It may never be his favorite and that's okay but I don't want math to be something he hates all through school He's almost 8 now We loved Essential Math for Kindergarten Next he started Singapore 1st grade and stopped he did some Miquon math and we looked into Saxon and Horizons Nothing seemed to really click and I wondered what I was doing wrong Last spring I bought the first 2 Life of Fred books because I'd heard so many interesting reviews and I was curious I read a couple of chapters aloud to him when he wasn't quite 7 years old It didn't suit us Some of the humor was over his head The pictures were an important part of the sequence and so I'd have to point and he'd have to stare at the page plus he wasn't cooperative about writing the answers down on a piece of paper I decided it wasn't for us He completed Math Mammoth 1 this last school year Math Mammoth seemed to get the job done but there was no joy in it Last month I pulled out the LOF books to try to sell them It occurred to me that now that my son was reading independently and he could read them to himself I assigned the first chapter in Apples and taught him how to label and write his answers on a separate piece of paper He LOVED it! He took ownership in doing it all by himself The next day he did the second chapter He is now a few chapters into Butterflies and asking me to order Cats As I listened to my son tell me all about Fred and his life I realized that one thing that was missing for him in math was humor and relationship I would sit with him and teach him but I'm pretty serious myself and I didn't make him laugh I recalled that all through my own school experience I adored my math teachers They made jokes while they taught My elementary teacher did a little dance for 6 times 8 is 48 because it rhymed and she always talked about how much she loved the number 0 My high school teacher bought us pizza if we could catch 10 mistakes he made in class He would gave us little brain teasers right before a vacation Hearing my son talk about Fred and remembering the relational aspect of math in my own life made me realize that I loved the atmosphere surrounding math not just math itself I think that my son needs more than just numbers staring up at him but something memorable that makes him smile That's a huge motivator and help in learning and more importantly remembering! For now we're going to continue LOF through the summer as an overall reading/writing/math/thinking program that's fun and simple Once we start school again in the fall I think I'll do a combination of LOF and Math Mammoth 2 It makes me so happy to see my son smiling instead of crying during math I'm thankful for the gift that Professor Schmidt has in conveying relationship humor and math through text and pictures Life of Fred is a unique gem among home school math optionsJune 29, 2013Amazing and Fun Math ProgramWhen my kids asked me continually "Why do I have to learn math?," I knew it was time to look for a different approach to math. After doing a lot of research on other programs, I finally came to Life of Fred. I talked to friends who used it, I read many reviews, I prayed about it. I also showed my kids samples of the books. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a perfect fit for our family. My 5th grader prefers to self-instruct as much as possible and LOF books are designed for that kind of learning. My 2nd grader loves to see the silliness in life, and LOF books are full of Fred's silly adventures while still teaching math along the way. Both kids can read the books and finish the assignments with occasional help along the way. Math is fun now! They are also seeing the connection of why we learn math and how it is used every day, all the time. I was a little skeptical about the slower pace, but it has actually deepened their understanding of concepts. Their brains have time to actually process and store the information. We highly recommend Life of Fred!October 27, 2015Purchased
over 2 years agoSo far, excellent!We have 4 kids going through these. Although our kids ages are 3rd-8th grade, they all started with Apples, (this year). The content in here is not just Math. We've learned about so many different things like an introduction to advanced math, (for older kids), Language Arts, common sense/thinking, scientists and that's just a little bit of what we've learned. They are so interesting that I am reading them on my own! My oldest daughter is so used to Saxon Math, and does't feel that it's enough and that its too silly, HOWEVER, when they read the book over again before going on to the next level, it has helped her in her Pre-Algebra. My kids are still doing Saxon Math, (we're finishing up for the year and we just started LOF), but I can see better test scores with my middle 2 kids since we've started LOF. I also think my daughter is so used to Saxon Math, (with out a story to go along with it), that a different way of approaching math might scare her. This week she has finally gotten used to LOF and now actually enjoys it. A lot of people ask, "yes, but is it enough." We are going to finish up the year with Saxon, but I say yes, it is enough. Kids don't just to the book once and move on. They should review it and do it over. Math concepts, as well as random information is being taught and I think that's wonderful! Depending on the day, we usually do anywhere between 2-5 lessons per day. My two youngest LOVE it and I've seen a change in attitude toward learning in general since we've started LOF. This is GREAT for the buy. I highly recommend it. Rainbow Resource Center has been the cheapest as far as I can find. They shipped and delivered with no delay. VERY happy with my purchase.April 19, 2016Purchased
1 year agoFantastically StrangeHilarious way to learn maths that draws the family together. Love it.February 22, 2017Purchased
10 months agoGreat Fun LearningI bought this to supplement with another math program that I felt my kids were getting a little bored with. They love it. They are 5 and 7 and ask to do more chapters just because it is fun, but they really are learning a lot. I like it too and would highly recommend it.February 23, 2017Purchased
10 months agoSo in looooove!I have 2 kids on the spectrum (11 and 14), and a 6 yo that I am reading the Elementary set to at the moment. The 14yo is so bad at maths, going completely back to the basics with Fred and Kingie, with some humour thrown in is great! The books provoke discussion and laughter and thinking. It is fantastic and I am so glad I bought them. We will be buying the secondary set once we get through these!May 25, 2017Purchased
7 months agoMy daughter loves it.My daughter loves science and history and reading, but math...forget it. I've had three other math curriculums before trying Fred. Now, she listens, laughs, and learns at the same time. I love how the books combine different math disciplines (math facts, geometry, algebra) along side history and science. The books are a pure delight.December 22, 2016Purchased
12 months agoThis is a great series and the Elementary books are great I've used Right Start Math as well as a Math Through Literature program and my children have liked Life of Fred the best It is also simpler to useno preparation is necessary and a lot of information is passed through the fun story in each chapter There are just a few questions to be answered at the end of each chapter which my 6 year old had very little trouble with though they did make her think and helped her understand what the math symbols mean even helped with her handwriting days of the week etc I like that Life of Fred helps us understand the concepts solidly without needing to pull out all of the manipulativesI've learned that (my children at least) form some dependence on hands on manipulatives and have trouble switching to the abstract or just knowing itand these books have helped with that transition The best part was that my children ASK to do math with this and will sit down and concentrate on the questions on their owneven getting upset if they are interruptedJuly 25, 2012I am so thankful a friend recommended these books! We were looking for a new curriculum for math mid-year as our old one was a disasterOn the first day out of the box my second grader read and completed all of Apples I think she did Butterflies in two days Cats took a bit longer about a week She has been on Dogs for a few days nowMy first grader took just over a week to complete Apples and we're on track to complete Butterflies in a similar amount of timeI love that these books are factually solid and the scope in each chapter is pretty broad I also love that in addition to math my children are learning science facts grammatical structure historical facts and anything else the author crams into the storyMy daughters love that Fred is fun The story line pulls them in and teaches them without their really realizing what is happening I also love that these books and some scratch paper are all you need -- ever I bought the whole elementary series for about as much I paid for one year's worth of math curriculum using the old one And I won't have to buy any more through all of my childrenMy second grader loves math again because math is intuitive for her She thinks mathematically and Fred LIVES mathematicallyMy first grader is not intuitive in math and Fred is non-threatening He teaches math as he tells a story My first grader is ALWAYS telling stories so this appeals to her more creative bentI would like a bit more drill so that the math facts become ingrained in their brains so I couple this with a FlashMaster for 10 minutes a day Between the two my girls are getting an amazing complete math educationOverall I would highly recommend this elementary curriculum It has totally changed the whole tone of our home school dayFebruary 26, 2014I can not say enough good things about these books How many kids rip open the box that just arrived because they know it contains their new math books? We have four children ages 7 11 14 and 16 We have tried so many different approaches to this subject but LoF has taken so much stress out of math for the whole family My 7 year old has used Life of Fred almost exclusively since we started schooling him He is by far my best math student He is doing long division functions understands sets graphs the metric system and so much more They all love reading about Fred and what is going on in his life Math is the one subject I never have to tell them to doFebruary 28, 2014
Q & A
Browse 2 questions Browse 2 questions and 51 answersWhy did you choose this?Rainbow Resource Center StoreIs this a supplement to math or a complete curriculum?BEST ANSWER: That is a matter of opinion. I know some people use these books as their only math curriculum. The stories are very engaging and in a kind of Charlotte Mason style, they cover a wide range of topics and interest, all while practicing math concepts. At the end of each chapter, there are between 3-10 practice problems that the student is to work out on a separate sheet of paper or a notebook, and answers are included on the following page. There are 18-19 chapters per book. I prefer to supplement with other workbooks for a more rounded out and progressive knowledge, but this does an excellent job of keeping the students interested and engaged in Math. The books go in alphabetical order, with Apples being about a Grade 1 level, and Butterflies Grade 1-2, Cats and Dogs Grade 2-3, etc.
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