Life of Fred: Butterflies

Life of Fred: Butterflies

# 029731

Our Price: $19.00
In Stock.

Item #: 029731
ISBN: 9780979107252
Grades: 1-4

Product Description:

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 lap...and finish the series sitting on his/her lap!" It's as simple as ABC...just 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.

I was sold even before I opened Apples by the picture of Archimedes 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.

Category Description for Life of Fred:

Life of Fred (LOF) is an unconventional series of math texts that seem accessible and friendly, especially for students who dislike traditional programs. According to Dr. Schmidt, the author, this series is designed to teach you the math you need to know without repetition, redundancy, and a multitude of problems to work. LOF follows the storyline of Fred's life while incorporating solid math concepts and skills. Motivated or independent students will appreciate this series, as well as gifted math students who might need a challenge. Written to the student and intended to be self-teaching, 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 (found in the text) 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. Math in a story context can sometimes make more sense to students than stand-alone math concepts - especially if it's an entertaining story! Students do two books per year up through pre-algebra; beginning with algebra, one book per year.


Primary Subject
Grade Start
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Hardcover Book
Brand Name
Z-twist Books
0.9688 (lbs.)
10.38" x 7.25" x 0.55"
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Why did you choose this?
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It's next in the series that we're working through.
Nathan L on Sep 30, 2021
My son likes this program better than others because its not traditional.
Corinne M on Apr 26, 2021
It's next in the series that we're working through.
Nathan L on Sep 30, 2021
Want to see if it will help my 2nd grader understand math better.
Corie E on Jun 30, 2021
My son likes this program better than others because its not traditional.
Corinne M on Apr 26, 2021
My child enjoyed the previous volume in the series.
User on Apr 22, 2021
My little boy is enjoying Life of Fred: Apples so much we are moving through it quickly. I thought I should order the next book since it will take a week to get here.
Kimberly M on Feb 25, 2021
My 4th grader is nearly finished with Apples. She is enjoying the series and I am enjoying low stress/ no tears (from either of us) math time.
dana m on Sep 29, 2020
We are almost finished with Apples and my son is enjoying Fred very much.
Sarah G on Sep 28, 2020
We did Apples with our 12 year old struggling daughter and there were no tears when doing the apple book so we thought we would keep going.
Marcella S on Sep 25, 2020
My kids have delighted in reading the Fred Apples book - three times through! So, here we go on Butterflies :)
Carrie D on Sep 18, 2020
My child does not like busy work, so we got the Life of Fred Apples book to try out this curriculum. We love it. The book is funny, drawings are hilarious, and there is learning going on for sure. Can't wait to get the rest of the series. Even though the Apples book was below his level, we are enjoying the story while getting a refresher on core math concepts.
Amy H on Sep 10, 2020
We have been loving the Apples Book and are excited to continue the series!
Ashley N on Aug 31, 2020
I chose this math program to streamline math lessons with 6, 7, 9 year old boys. One mathbook for all. Yay!
Ashley M on Aug 10, 2020
We loved LOF Apples! Great blend of humor, basic math, hints of algebra among other tidbits of knowledge.
carolyn k on Aug 3, 2020
I purchased the first book of the elementary set (Apples), the middle school set (Kidneys, Liver, and Mineshaft), and Pre- Algebra 0 with Physics for my 3 oldest children to try. They loved them so we decided to continue using them. We use them as a supplemental curriculum.
Krista B on Apr 22, 2020
It was recommended by a friend as a product that is useful for teaching math to students and adults.
Kathleen M on Apr 9, 2020
My son is good an Maths but struggles to keep on track with the traditional approach.
User on Mar 13, 2020
Fred is the best. Completely contextualized math. Love, love, love!
Linda D on Feb 26, 2020
My son is enjoying Apples, which we do once a week along with another math curriculum, so we are preparing for the next level.
Jennifer J on Feb 9, 2020
Continuing the series :)
Carla A on Jan 26, 2020
This math serious was recommended by other homeschool families, so we're going to give it a try.
Myranda S on Jan 9, 2020
We have Life of Fred: Apples, and my son is really enjoying it. I'm having to keep him from reading it too fast! It was time to get the next book.
Kristen M on Sep 27, 2019
My kids love it.
Stacie B on Sep 18, 2019
My three boys loved book A
Deborah P on Aug 29, 2019
We've already begun Life of Fred: Apples, and we enjoy it with my 5 year old and 4 year old. So I anticipate continuing the series. Also, I needed about this much cost to get my free shipping.
Becky P on Aug 3, 2019
My daughter has been doing the Easy Peasy 2nd grade math offline workbook which she enjoys. However, I wanted something to cover more of the conceptual side of math and Life of Fred has been a great choice for this. She looks forward to doing Life of Fred!
Monica R on Feb 1, 2019
I have a child who is struggling to pick up math concepts the traditional way. She tends to be more right brained and I am hope that this approach might help her.
Billie M on Jan 15, 2019
Life of Fred is an "Add on" to our math program that we use either to warm up before our main lesson or to do during Morning Time, especially if I know we won't have time to get to our full math lesson that day.
Elizabeth N on Oct 26, 2018
We found Apples entertaining so getting the next one.
Gena O on Aug 7, 2018
Math tutoring. Our kids love these books and I needed to complete the whole collection.
Felicia B on May 16, 2018
Life of Fred is a fun way to get more involved with math
User on Apr 20, 2018
My kids really enjoyed Life of Fred Apples and want to continue the story!
Courtney F on Apr 16, 2018
We have done a lot of other Life of Fred Math with our older kids and think it is great. It draws the kids in with the fun stories and interesting facts. We ordered these for our younger children.
Shawn M on Mar 10, 2018
it's just fun... and my daughter enjoys the book, so it makes Math fun while she is learning too.
Yolanda S on Jan 10, 2018
our favorite math curriculum
Anna H on Jan 8, 2018
I love the Life of Fred style of teaching.
Meghan D on Dec 25, 2017
homeschool math
Jason C on Nov 18, 2017
I wanted to try this because I want math to make sense. I like other math programs but just want to try this one out.
Ruth M on Nov 2, 2017
I've read great reviews for this curriculum and wanted to try a different approach for my child's math education.
Deirdra W on Oct 20, 2017
We Really enjoy the Life of Fred series so far.
Cynthia C on Oct 6, 2017
We loved life of Fred: apples.
Brandy C on Sep 17, 2017
for my daughter to get started on math
Alyssa J on Aug 17, 2017
We love LoF math! Recommended to us by a friend last year.
Rachel W on Aug 9, 2017
My 6 year old enjoyed Apples this summer, so we are continuing with the next book as a fun math supplement.
Elsa E on Jul 9, 2017
My soon to be first grader loves stories. She is good at math and I hope this makes it also fun for her.
Jennifer D on May 2, 2017
Read that they were good math books for teaching math in a new way.
Rachel B on Mar 7, 2017
Dd has enjoyed LoF Apples. We need to take a break from the regular math curriculum in order to solidify addition facts, and will be using LoF in its place until facts are mastered. She is always eager to see what Fred is up to next.
User on Feb 8, 2017
I have heard very good things about these books and wanted to give them a try with my kindergartener.
Lisa E on Feb 2, 2017
My daughter loves to read but thinks she doesn't like math. Life of Fred is the first math curriculum that she has enjoyed!
Michelle N on Jan 11, 2017
My kids love Apples so much that they ask to do math even if on non school days. It was an easy decison to continue with Butterflies.
User on Dec 27, 2016
Trying a new math curriculum in our homeschool
Kelly B on Nov 20, 2016
Want to see if it will help my 2nd grader understand math better.
Corie E on Jun 30, 2021
My child enjoyed the previous volume in the series.
User on Apr 22, 2021
How does the LOF program work? Is Apples, Butterflies, Cats, and Dogs a complete 1st grade program? Or is each book for a different grade level? Or do you keep using the books up through 4th grade? The book says its complete and comprehensive but since some are recommending supplementing I want to know what topics would I need to supplement for 1st grade: a little bit everywhere or just a few key topics?
A shopper on Nov 29, 2019
Life of Fred: Butterflies
Life of Fred: Butterflies
Life of Fred: Apples
Life of Fred: Apples
Life of Fred: Cats
Life of Fred: Cats
Life of Fred: Dogs
Life of Fred: Dogs
BEST ANSWER: Each LoF book builds on itself, so Butterflies adds a few more addition facts to those previously in Apples. If you have a highly motivated learner, you could supplement with handwritten problems you think up yourself. But the point of LoF is not to purposely give them pages of work to overwhelm them. With my current 1st grader I often leave it at Your Chance to Play questions, whereas my 2nd grader loves the challenge of extra problems. He is up to Goldfish now.
4.2 / 5.0
5 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Rated 1 out of 5
Don't buy this!
Life of Fred is not good. Too much story and not enough math.
August 9, 2019
over 3 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
We love Life of Fred
Life of Fred is fantastic, filled with humor, and never boring!
May 1, 2019
over 3 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
My kids love it!
April 18, 2019
over 2 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
We love Life of Fred for math! Our daughter is actually excited to get the book out and read it and doesn't stress out over the questions.
April 14, 2017
over 4 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
I purchased "Apples" and "Butterflies" on a whim for my third grader this year My reluctant mathematician begs to do a chapter of "Fred" often The books go by quickly so I spread them out Fred seems to have taken the fear and dread out of math and made it quite fun She has picked up some algebra and geometry along with the basics! I like the use of other subjects within the stories such as grammar and history as wellleans a bit classical Does what it sets out to do: makes us think And I do not have to prep just join in the silliness 475 stars for us! Will be purchasing "Cats" and "Dogs" this year
April 2, 2013

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