Life of Fred Elementary E-J Package

Life of Fred Elementary E-J Package


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Item #: LOFEEJ
Grades: 2-5

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.


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Why did you choose this?
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My whole family loves this math so far!
Desiree H on Jul 3, 2022
Life of Fred has been a joyful and low-stress way for my daughter to learn math.
Elizabeth V on Sep 12, 2021
My whole family loves this math so far!
Desiree H on Jul 3, 2022
Math is now my son's favorite subject and he reads these books for FUN in his free time!
Amy W on Mar 9, 2022
Life of Fred has been a joyful and low-stress way for my daughter to learn math.
Elizabeth V on Sep 12, 2021
My daughter is about to finish up Life of Fred Dogs so we needed the next in the series!
Vanessa J on Aug 31, 2021
We have enjoyed this non-conventional math. it grows minds in a way typical workbook programs do not
Tabitha F on Jul 7, 2021
best math series
christine p on May 5, 2021
We just completed Life Of Fred Elementary A-D and my son enjoyed them, so we will keep doing them. He is a 4th/5th grader catching up on Math and Life Of Fred has helped to make it enjoyable for him. We do 2-3 chapters/day usually.
Jenna D on Apr 12, 2021
continuing the series
Christine S on Apr 3, 2021
Checked them out from library to try out but wanted our own copies
Lindsey A on Feb 25, 2021
In our first semester of homeschooling, I've worked through Life of Fred A-D with my third grader and kindergartener. The stories are engaging and the non-traditional approach gets them thinking about math in different ways. Love the Life of Fred series, and can't wait to see what Fred gets up to in books E-J!
Meredith G on Feb 19, 2021
we tried the first 4 books and they are great, now moving on to the next stage
Alberto M on Feb 10, 2021
My daughters absolutely love this series!
Lindsay C on Jan 26, 2021
This was the best price I could find on this package. We love the Life of Fred math books!
Kasey P on Jan 19, 2021
My son loves Life of Fred! He's excited about math and actually wants to continue reading these books at night before going to bed.
Cherrye M on Oct 30, 2020
My son is extremely fond of this series and it has really inspired by this series to do more math. He is motivated to complete each book on his own, especially since, it is in a story format.
PAULA G on Oct 19, 2020
Because we finished A-D and don't want to stop!
Kimberly H on Sep 27, 2020
older son loves to read
Kate B on Sep 17, 2020
not common core- Also, another reviewer left a review that suggested the materials has more to offer than standard math.
Markasia H on Sep 8, 2020
My kids don't like math or understand all the reasons they need to learn it, so I am trying this since I've heard great things about it from other homeschool moms.
DeAnne H on Aug 27, 2020
Recommended by other home school mom
Sonya C on Aug 26, 2020
Great math program! Gentle way of learning math, yet keeps children engaged and interested in math.
Tiffany R on Aug 24, 2020
I needed them to finish the elementary package and I saved just a couple of bucks and free shipping!
Elizabeth S on Sep 2, 2019
Life of Fred is the perfect Math for my son. He loves stories and loves to read. It's great to make math a story! He has finished the whole elementary and intermediate series in 3 years. He can't get enough.
Amanda S on Aug 2, 2019
We use these as a supplement to another math curriculum. My son loves to just sit on the couch and read them like he is reading a great novel!
Lori C on Feb 17, 2019
We have used Life of Fred A-D and want to continue with the series. The kids love these books and are learning so much from them!
Heather L on Dec 26, 2018
Kids (ages 9 and 11)are really ready for the intermediate set, if not the fractions, but they enjoy these stories/books so much that we figure we will just stay the course. We will likely fly through them anyway.
Leah S on Oct 30, 2018
Our son loved the first 4 books of this series.
Jared N on Oct 30, 2018
Fun way to learn math and see how math is applicable in every day life.
Michelle C on Oct 22, 2018
Life of Fred Elementary A-D Package was awesome! My son loved it!
amy g on Sep 4, 2018
My son did a traditional math for kindergarten and got quickly frustrated with the repetition and endless math problems. We tried Life of Fred A-D for 1st grade and it was a game changer. He loved the narrative but still understood the math. I've compared what he knows with his friend who's in the same grade and he was able to explain things to his friend who was struggling. he can do the addition in his head and even understands the simplest form of algebra and thinks that's awesome! Love it!
Colleen H on May 26, 2018
We enjoyed the first package of 4 books!
Kelly S on May 23, 2018
My child has finished the first 4 and enjoyed them. My children attend public school and we supplement with LOF at home.
Lee L on Feb 28, 2018
Life of Fred is a fun and exciting way to learn the history and application of math. If you have a student who enjoys reading more than computing math problems this series is for you.
Krista M on Nov 30, 2017
My daughter does not like math, and has literally been in tears with other math curriculum! She is loving this series, and is learning math!! They are not only teaching her math, but she is really interested in the story. She jumps right into her math lesson without being asked.
Heather E on Oct 18, 2017
The students I am teaching found Fred interesting, making learning Math easier.
Lori N on Oct 11, 2017
The character of Fred is a magnificent way to teach math to the child who loves stories and prefers reading.
Beverly R on Sep 10, 2017
We love Fred! It makes math more fun to have a story-time as part of the day. The concepts are introduced in a way that makes sense in real life. Or at least, in Fred's real life!
Toni on Aug 14, 2017
We love Life of Fred at our house. It is the perfect bridge to keep my kiddos thinking during our breaks from school. Fred is very funny. It's not just math either; Fred teaches history, science, grammar, and other topics in such a sneaky, fun way.
Lindsay D on May 11, 2017
My son loved the Fred stories!
Jean C on Mar 15, 2017
We have had great success with the beginning elementary set and chose to continue.
Courtney P on Mar 8, 2017
My 8 year son loves these books!
Patricia S on Nov 30, 2016
We just finished A-D, and my daughter really enjoys Life of Fred, so it's on to the next batch!
Melanie L F on Nov 26, 2016
My daughter loved to A-D books.
Tricia H on Nov 25, 2016
it's next in our curriculum
KELLY O on Oct 28, 2016
The best way to introduce math to children and make them love it! Because it's not just about math, it shows how math is linked to all aspects of life, and this is wonderful!
Laura V on Oct 22, 2016
I don't use Life of Fred exclusively for math, but it is easy to add in and approaches it in such a different way. I think it is especially useful in helping kids to think mathematically, if that makes sense. I must admit at first I was a little annoyed with how silly it is, but it hooks the kids and it's stopped bothering me.
sarah jean j on Sep 17, 2016
I am very pleased with LOF a-d
Dayna M on Sep 14, 2016
decided to complete our Life of Fred Elementary collection
Loren G on Aug 19, 2016
My 7 year old son loves to read stories and gets a kick out of Fred and his adventures.
Sarah S on Aug 15, 2016
My daughter likes life of Fred. I plan to also use it with her younger brother.
Sarah R on Jul 17, 2016
Math is now my son's favorite subject and he reads these books for FUN in his free time!
Amy W on Mar 9, 2022
My daughter is about to finish up Life of Fred Dogs so we needed the next in the series!
Vanessa J on Aug 31, 2021
5.0 / 5.0
7 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Rated 5 out of 5
Buy it, try it, you'll love it
"Best way yo teach child, youth or adult math" 13yo boy who loves math, but not traditional math textbooks. Kill and drill math was like pulling teeth. Life of Fred is, well, it's hard to stop my son from doing more than one lesson/day.
February 18, 2022
1 year ago
Rated 5 out of 5
We love Fred!
We can't say enough good about "Life of Fred." As a former high school math teacher, I'm amazed at how much Dr. Schmidt packs in to each chapter and how he throws in Algebraic, geometric and even Calculus concepts in the same chapters that he's teaching basic arithmetic. My kids love math and are excited to make connections on their own. It's a completely different approach, but so effective, interesting and worthwhile.
January 30, 2021
over 2 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Math is FUN now! And she’s learning more, too!
My daughter never liked Math. She now loves it and it’s all because of Fred! I love Fred, too, and can’t resist reading all of the stories right along with my daughter. She is in 6th grade but we just started homeschooling this year. I decided it would be best to start at Apples and work all the way through to her current level. Best decision I could have made for her! She said many times that she was learning things she had never learned before. So very happy with Fred!!
December 24, 2020
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 6 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Life of Fred is awesome!
We got A-D to try it out and came back for the rest! We love how simple it is to understand, I can do it one-on-one or with all my kids... we are really enjoying it!!
February 10, 2017
over 6 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Love this series!!
We love Life of Fred! I'm so glad we bought this package to finish out the elementary section. My daughter loves the story line and I love it that she is learning so much more than just math. We would definitely recommend it to others looking for a fun, relaxed way to reinforce math.
September 4, 2016
over 6 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Life of Fred to the Rescue!
My ten-year-old son loves to read. I can get him to learn anything as long as he can read about it. If it involves sheets addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems to solve, we can make it through about 10 problems, on a good day, before his eyes glaze over and the struggle begins. This was true BEFORE I took the plunge and purchased the first few books in the Life of Fred series. I was desperate to find something, anything, that would make math less painful and stressful for both of us. I bought the first four books just to try them out. I figured that, if they didn't work out, I could give them a try with the five-year-old when he was ready. I didn't tell my son that they were math books when I gave them to him. I simply announced that I found a new book series that he might like, and laid Apples in front of him. He picked it up, and started reading. The next thing I heard out of him was, "Mom, this is all about math! And I understand it!" Huge sigh of relief. He blazed through the first four books, without a arguing, cajoling, badgering, bribing, and that trend continues. He is about to start Goldfish. I do supplement Life of Fred with Ray's Primary Math and First Book of Arithmetic (I only ask him to do 5-10 problems a day). Now math is a breeze, and I feel that he is not only getting a firm foundation in math, but he is also being introduced, in a very entertaining, non-threatening way, to higher math concepts. Thank you Life of Fred. You helped my math reluctant son learn to enjoy and appreciate math.
November 5, 2015
over 7 years ago

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