Life of Fred: Apples

Life of Fred: Apples

# 029719

Our Price: $16.00
In Stock.

Item #: 029719
ISBN: 9780979107245
Grades: 1-4

Product Description:

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.

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.



Primary Subject
Grade Start
Grade End
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?
Rainbow Resource Center Store
Looking for a fun supplement/new approach for math with my children. This will supplement a Montessori based mathematics curriculum.
Kaycie L on Jan 31, 2020
Recommendation from a friend
Candice B on Oct 14, 2019
Looking for a fun supplement/new approach for math with my children. This will supplement a Montessori based mathematics curriculum.
Kaycie L on Jan 31, 2020
I had heard about Life of Fred from another homeschool mom, have been struggling with my kids hating math (they're creatives), and then got the email this morning with the glorious VIDEO review which sealed the deal. I'm starting at the very beginning - a very good place to start!
Emily M on Jan 28, 2020
Recommendation from a friend
Candice B on Oct 14, 2019
Homeschooling special needs
Thomas H on Aug 24, 2019
I’ve heard great things about it
Jennifer R on Jul 31, 2019
had really good reviews
nicholas A on May 22, 2019
I am giving this title a try (the first in the series) because I want to demonstrate that math is all around us all the time. There are stories in math....not just "boring" figures. This is the basis of "word problems"...and word problems are why math is important, we use it all the time! I try to do this in my daily tasks, but sometimes a story book can help fill in.
Amy S on Apr 26, 2019
Highly recommended program
Hansen H on Apr 7, 2019
I use Right Start math and will continue to do so. My daughter does not love RS, but she LOVES to read anything. This will be optional for her, but I think she will enjoy it. Ultimately, I purchased out of curiosity.
KATHERINE S on Jan 26, 2019
Danielle D on Dec 16, 2018
I was recommend by my sister-in-law to use this math program. After looking over it, it includes a lot of great aspects of learning and makes it easy for the kids to learn and want to continue to grow. It also introduces the children to higher education type math so when they start to learn it officially, it doesn't seem as overwhelming as they've already seen it before.
Stephanie H on Nov 29, 2018
My kids love reading so thought I would try this math curriculum.
brandy b on Oct 24, 2018
looking for engaging math curriculm
Heather N on Sep 15, 2018
My son has difficulty with math. I've heard of this and thought we'd get one book to try.
virginia b on Aug 25, 2018
Fun!! Everyone I know using this program says that it is very child led and fun! And my son who has autism needs a math program that shows him how to use math in the real world.
Michelle A on Aug 21, 2018
I've heard amazing things about this curriculum and am very much looking forward to trying it this year!
Jennifer P on Aug 16, 2018
Fun way to review his Abeka Math
Jacquetta J on Jul 25, 2018
lower price than elsewhere
Morgan F on Jul 13, 2018
I heard about it on a podcast and they really liked the book. I bought it for my 7 and 5 year old.
Deborah M on Jun 27, 2018
Recommended as a different type of curriculum
User on May 22, 2018
I want to try the LOF series to see if my kids actually learn from it.
Crystal P on May 13, 2018
recommendation from friend
krista w on May 10, 2018
This sounds like a quirky--and just plain silly--way to talk about math in "real" situations. I hope it adds that light-hearted fun to those difficult math days.
Jonathan B on Apr 15, 2018
Just wanted to try something different...
Michael P on Apr 7, 2018
I got a recommendation that this is a good math book for kids
Nils O on Apr 2, 2018
I heard wonderful things about this math program and want to use as a supplement with saxon
Robert C on Mar 30, 2018
Need to try something different, this looks different!
Tom G on Mar 27, 2018
Going to try as a supplement for our current math
Magdeline S on Mar 23, 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
I thought it looked fun to read to a second grader.
Tina M on Mar 6, 2018
our favorite math curriculum
Anna H on Jan 8, 2018
We wanted to add math to our bedtime basket and it was highly recommended.
Kristina G on Dec 30, 2017
To make my 6 year old daughter think outside the box for math. She is very creative and will love the stories that will make her think!
Eric H on Sep 28, 2017
Fun Math.
Carmen M on Sep 22, 2017
Life of Fred has worked well for my children as their learning styles are quite diverse.
James B on Sep 1, 2017
The review in your catalog interested me, and I thought I would like to try it out.
Nicole S on Aug 31, 2017
comes highly recommended
Julie W on Aug 31, 2017
To try out for my daughter
Alyssa J on Aug 17, 2017
to get student interested in math
Carolyn A on Aug 10, 2017
We love LoF! Recommended to us by a friend last year.
Rachel W on Aug 9, 2017
Because I borrowed it from the library and my kids loved it.
Emily H on Jul 3, 2017
Math suggestion
Shawn E on Jun 24, 2017
Using Saxon 1 with grandson and all the drawn out lessons and repetition are boring him to tears.
User on May 25, 2017
had excellent reviews, and enjoyed the samples provided online. will give Apples a try.
Catherine L on Apr 26, 2017
I like it's real-life approach to math.
Christine S on Apr 22, 2017
I want to peak my daughters interest in math.
Elizabeth K on Apr 17, 2017
I've heard great things about the book and after reviewing it, I believe that it will help my visual-spatial learner understand math concepts that have been eluding her.
Faith C on Mar 23, 2017
I have heard wonderful things about this program, and I'm eager to try it out to keep mathematical thought in my son's head between kindergarten and first grade.
Elsa E on Mar 17, 2017
Read that they were good math books for teaching math in a new way
Rachel B on Mar 7, 2017
purchased for my preschooler I have heard great things and I'm hoping it will be fun to use
beth c on Feb 22, 2017
I had heard about Life of Fred from another homeschool mom, have been struggling with my kids hating math (they're creatives), and then got the email this morning with the glorious VIDEO review which sealed the deal. I'm starting at the very beginning - a very good place to start!
Emily M on Jan 28, 2020
Homeschooling special needs
Thomas H on Aug 24, 2019
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: Apples
Life of Fred: Apples
Life of Fred: Butterflies
Life of Fred: Butterflies
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.
How long is each chapter meant to take?
A shopper on Feb 18, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Each chapter takes maybe a few minutes to read, and then to answer the questions. Some question sets go faster than others. Usually, my daughter will ask to do at least another chapter, and usually more. Because of this, and because the books are short, I just bring it in every once in awhile, to break up the normal math routine, and even so, we get through the books quickly, as she wants to see what's going to happen with Fred. At this point, we're looking forward to more adventures with Fred and Kingie. :-)
is life of Fred religious or secular?
A shopper on Dec 11, 2015
BEST ANSWER: The author ascribes his work to be "to the glory of God". There is nothing overtly religious about the material. I've read through 3 books so far myself with one of my children and come across one instance where Fred is thankful to God for what he has. So it does promote Christian values - honesty, thankfulness, etc. but the references are few.
4.6 / 5.0
11 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Not for us
Too much story and not enough math. Don't waste your money.
August 9, 2019
over 2 years ago
My daughter loves it!
My youngest daughter asks for this everyday, and her brother sits in too. He is actually picking up on things, even though he is 3 and not in "school" yet.
November 14, 2017
over 2 years ago
Love it!
My kids ask to read Fred. They look forward to it.
May 6, 2017
over 2 years ago
Great series
I purchased this for my 7 year old special needs child. We use it slightly different than most. I read a chapter to him while he colors or builds with blocks. When we started Apples he didn't know his days of the week or months of the year. We are now in Butterflies and I'm amazed at what he has absorbed from this series. It's a slow and easy curriculum. A bit costly, but worth it. I have purchased (A-D) so far.
March 29, 2017
over 3 years ago
Very clever
This is very cleverly written and a fun way to learn your math. Highly recommend.
March 19, 2017
over 3 years ago
Better than a textbook
My 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.
August 24, 2016
over 3 years ago
Hilarious!! And we're learning math concepts and more.
My 7 year old son and I started using Life of Fred Apples this year to supplement Math U See. We did Saxon math last year, but I needed a less parent intense math program with schooling 4 students this year. I didn't have the time to read through all the different Saxon instructions for 3 different levels even though I loved the in depth Saxon program. So my son and I are enjoying Life of Fred Elementary series and are enjoying our LIVING MATH textbook. I have read through them and done the problems myself to see what my son is reading. We need to order the next batch as he's almost completed A-D and it's only November. That's a good sign. At this point, I don't see Life of Fred Elementary series as a stand alone program, but we love it as a supplement. We'll see how much more in depth it gets as we progress past Dogs.
November 7, 2015
over 4 years ago
I started my son on this series when he was 8 I was very hesitant to begin with book one because I knew it was just be too easy for him While I was correct in that the concepts taught were below what he was learning he loved the book so much we continued on through the entire elementary level He is excited to do math and begs to read additional chapters each day Currently we are using this as a supplement This series will work well for the child who loves to read It is easy to follow for the teacher and is a terrific value! We love Life of Fred!
June 25, 2013
We are currently using this book as a supplement in our math lessons My daughter LOVES it She loves to draw and loves that it incorporates drawing in the math problems For example draw four alligators plus three alligators She loves it and giggles at the jokes and overall enjoys reading and learning
April 16, 2013
We are really enjoying the Life of Fred (apples)!!! I am impressed w how it introduces simple algebra; and my 1st grader (and pre K who also listens) enjoys the silly stories! :) I would not use it as a stand alone Math curriculum but think it's a GREAT enhancement!
November 1, 2012

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