Life of Fred: Jelly Beans

Life of Fred: Jelly Beans

# 050546

Our Price: $18.00
Retail: $19.00
Save: 5.26% ($1.00)
In Stock.

Item #: 050546
ISBN: 9781937032036
Grades: 2-5

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
Grade End
Hardcover Book
Brand Name
Z-twist Books
0.9688 (lbs.)
10.38" x 7.25" x 0.55"
Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
Browse 1 question Browse 1 question and 18 answers
Why did you choose this?
Rainbow Resource Center Store
We are continuing our Life of Fred math, so we are onto the next book!
Elizabeth O on Aug 3, 2020
The next next one in series :D
Laura P on Jul 7, 2019
We are continuing our Life of Fred math, so we are onto the next book!
Elizabeth O on Aug 3, 2020
Youngest loves Fred & this is the next one.
Kristen L on Oct 17, 2019
The next next one in series :D
Laura P on Jul 7, 2019
My child likes this series. We use if for extra practice.
Raquel E on May 30, 2019
We love LOF. My daughter has been working through the series since she was 6 years old. I am excited to continue on with Jellybeans!
Rochelle W on Aug 30, 2018
This is the next book in the series my children are using for math. They love it!
Kara R on Aug 15, 2018
My son has really enjoyed this math curriculum!
Amanda D on Jul 26, 2018
Recommended by other homeschool moms
Hailey A on Jul 18, 2018
5th grader has stopped loving Fred because "it's hard now," but it's so good at teaching thinking skills that I don't want her to stop using it yet.
Jeremy K on Mar 8, 2018
My daughter has loved this entire series. Just buying the next in the series.
chris s on Sep 14, 2017
We love the Life of Fred Math books! My daughter has gone through the first 4, so we are purchasing the next ones.
Jessica M on May 2, 2017
We have been working through the Life of Fred Series. I was a skeptic, but desperate to end the daily tears over math. Now as we enter the final books in the elementary series, I can truly see the genius in teaching this way. Both my child and I have learned so much through Fred's absurd adventures. The best part? We both have found new ways to see how Math intertwines our daily lives. I'm so glad we took the leap.
Rita G on Feb 8, 2017
The Life of Fred was recommended by a friend as a way to teach math that does not tax children with tedious drills, and instead promotes thinking and learning math as part of everyday life. The Life of Fred Math certainly does all the above. My girls, ages 7 and 10 love Fred and can't wait to find out what happens to him next, all while learning math. Dr. Stanley Schmidt has an incredible gift of making math fun and of challenging young and not so young minds into thinking!!
Najwa W on Aug 18, 2016
we really like the first 2 books. They opened up our 8 year old to eagerly learning math. Our 10 and 11 year olds enjoy the stories also.
marie r on Apr 27, 2016
We've enjoyed the books in the series.
Masami O on Mar 9, 2016
I am a combination of Robinson, Classical and Unschooling for my home school program for my three children. It made sense to use the Life of Fred math books because the rest of the home school curriculum I am using is very much literature based.
Leah W on Dec 10, 2015
We have been using Life of Fred since we began homeschooling and I am amazed at how my daughter can understand concepts! I'm learning right along with her.
Bethe A on Nov 27, 2015
My kids love Fred!
Melissa G on Nov 23, 2015
Youngest loves Fred & this is the next one.
Kristen L on Oct 17, 2019
My child likes this series. We use if for extra practice.
Raquel E on May 30, 2019
5.0 / 5.0
1 Review
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Rated 5 out of 5
We Love Fred
Once you start reading the Fred books, they are hard to put down. Plus I hate books that make kids do a page of problems when they've already grasped the mathematic concept. Fred gives just enough and you can supplement where needed. Perfect books for ADHD kids too!
February 4, 2016
over 6 years ago

help desk software