Life of Fred: Kidneys
So, what to do after that last dose of Jelly Beans? Head for the Kidneys, Liver and Mineshaft. If your child has completed LOF Elementary and is still under the tender age of ten (Prof. Schmidt recommends NOT beginning LOF Fractions until the fifth grade) three more books have been added to fill the "gap". Also use this series if your 5th or 6th grader wants to switch to LOF and has been using another curriculum. If your child does not yet have a good grasp of addition and subtraction, does not understand the concept of multiplication and division, or is not yet in 4th grade, complete the LOF Elementary series before beginning this one.
As in the Elementary series, each brief chapter (about six pages) is followed by a short set of problems (usually 4-5) called Your Turn to Play. These questions should be written out (NO calculators are allowed) before checking the complete solutions found on the next page. I strongly recommend reading through the solutions even if you think your answers are correct as there is often additional instruction or alternate solution method(s) embedded in the answer section. Each book consists of nineteen chapters and should take roughly a month to complete. Since the entire series can be completed in a mere three months, this would also be a great review course for students during the summer.
If you are familiar with the other Life of Fred books, you know that Prof. Schmidt educates while entertaining. We pick up the Life of Fred where we left it in the Elementary series. Fred is still five, still a Professor at Kittens, still living on the third floor of the Math Building, and still can't paint as well as Kingie. Throughout this series, we follow Fred as he catches criminals, visits the University President's home, meets a talking horse, goes to camp, babysits, and ALMOST falls into a mineshaft. Between beanbag-doll artists and magical mailboxes, Fred explores a whole lot of math with a particular focus on functions. Besides learning many mathematical concepts including (but not limited to):
Numerals, fractions, borrowing in subtraction, functions, domains, codomains, elapsed time, percents, telling time, standard to metric conversions, volume, perimeter, area, polar form, exponents, set theory, geometric forms, arithmetic sequences, arithmetic series, Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, sigma notation, analytic geometry, commutative actions, adding fractions, multiplying fractions, geometric theorems, Pythagorean theorem, pie charts, natural numbers, long and short division, converting percents to fractions, reducing fractions, converting fractions to percents, averages, images in the codomain of a function, doubling, rounding, trillions, billions, set notation, perpendicular lines, diminutives, right angles, sectors, cardinality, inverse operations, metric system, operations with time, diameters, radii, chords, secants, measurement conversions, temperature conversions, markup
Your child will also learn about such things as:
Talent, practice, patience, idioms, how to write a check, how to stay on topic when speaking, chemical notation, why not to consume much sugar, redundant speech, basic laws of economics, stethoscopes, why we have two kidneys, parts of speech, multi-tasking, logically equivalent statements, adumbration, how to take up slack in a boot, summer solstice, encountering lions at blood banks, how to take the SAT, reading the fine print, Armenian food, silent letters, treble and bass clefs, why there is little irony in children's books, the singular form of graffiti, why to exercise, how to open a door, the use of silence in life, translating Latin, reasons to be grateful, how addresses and rooms are numbered, feudalism, hunting tigers, square knots, balalaikas, the difference between concrete and cement, Maslow's hierarchy of human needs, definition of a mammal, searing a steak, telling the truth, making mistakes, camping, and when to be polite - just to name a few.
Even though I was rooting for Kittens, Lollipops, and Milkshakes as follow-ups to the Elementary series, I can't complain about the deliciously satisfying content of these less appealingly named books.
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.