Life of Fred Elementary Package

Life of Fred Elementary Package


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Item #: LOFELM
Grades: 1-5

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?
Rainbow Resource Center Store
I wanted to find a fun way to teach my daughter math.
Roelisa D on Aug 7, 2020
Recommended by a friend. Our kids are older, but it was recommended that they read through the whole story and work through the remedial math to get a feel for the learning style.
Kimberly L on Aug 3, 2020
I wanted to find a fun way to teach my daughter math.
Roelisa D on Aug 7, 2020
I've heard rave reviews from several friends and I believe the creative story lines and fun illustrations will appeal to my boys.
Alyssa W on Aug 4, 2020
Recommended by a friend. Our kids are older, but it was recommended that they read through the whole story and work through the remedial math to get a feel for the learning style.
Kimberly L on Aug 3, 2020
Recommended by a friend
Jessica H on Aug 1, 2020
My children respond well to stories wanted to try math involving stories to keep them engaged.
Kristen T on Aug 1, 2020
I choose this because it looked colorful and like it would make learning math fun. It also had good reviews on it.
Kori L on Jul 30, 2020
I've heard very good reviews about this unique math curriculum.
Cindy S on Jul 25, 2020
Math for those that learn best through story.
Bronwyn S on Jul 21, 2020
good reviews
maureen a on Jul 20, 2020
Many positive responses about this curriculum for my kids' age range, and free shipping makes this set the same price an any other listings I could find.
Stacey K on Jul 15, 2020
These were suggested by other homeschool moms & they looked like a fun way to teach math!
Bethany O on Jul 7, 2020
My kids love learning math with Life of Fred books!
Bethany J on Jul 7, 2020
We have so much fun doing Math with Fred! Yes you read that correctly FUN DOING MATH!
Cece G on Jul 2, 2020
Have heard great things about this program and can't wait to try it with our girls this year
Kevin K on Jun 17, 2020
It came highly recommended by members of my homeschool co-op (Catholic Schoolhouse)
Erin R on Jun 12, 2020
Great recommendations - looking for something to supplement core math instruction.
phantomfarm on May 17, 2020
We have a third grader at a Waldorf school and are looking to keep her working on some maths over the summer. Our plan is to have her work on one "lesson" per day over the summer.
Caroline P on May 8, 2020
I'm interested in learning a different approach to teaching mathematics. After watching and reading several reviews, I decided to leap.
Barbara J on May 1, 2020
The reviews look like this will be a great resource for not just math, but critical thinking skills
Angie C on Apr 15, 2020
A fellow homeschooler shared her copy with me and I really liked it. She also ordered from Rainbow Resource.
Shanah K on Apr 14, 2020
excellent reviews online
Rebekah J on Mar 30, 2020
I struggled in math, and had uninterested math teachers throughout school, but did very well in college math. That leads me to believe that maybe I did have an aptitude for it in spite of the way I was treated. I want to give my children all the tools I can for them to succeed to the level they desire. Additionally, I find the narrative learning here intriguing, and not likely to be similar to anything my children will encounter in school. I hope to help them have a broader view of concepts
Rachel R on Mar 11, 2020
I had read good reviews about it, so I thought I'd try it
DoItYourselfer on Feb 11, 2020
We are a home educating family and I would like to try a different approach to math.
Sarah G on Feb 11, 2020
It is highly recommended by my son's Dr.
Chris B on Feb 6, 2020
My child has a hard time connecting numbers but remembers stories extremely well and I am hoping that this curriculum will bridge the gap for her.
Tasha on Jan 21, 2020
I have tried other math curriculum throughout the years with resistance from my children. They have struggled to learn the concepts. I finally checked these books out from the library to review them before purchasing. I am excited to dive in to The Life Of Fred Elementary series. I feel this might reach my reluctant learners.
Katie W on Jan 18, 2020
These books are probably appropriate for children who are gifted or smart ahead of their age. I bought them because a friend recommended them for my 21 month-old baby girl.
YEN W on Jan 14, 2020
lots of friends love it!!
Preston C on Aug 23, 2019
Because they recommended it to me.
AMADOR D on Aug 9, 2019
Makes learning fun!
Karen M on Jul 7, 2019
I selected the Life of Fred Elementary Package as it is a creative, critical- thinking ,hands-on, fun approach to math as opposed to a dry, rote way.
Julia F on Jun 26, 2019
4th grade math for son
Michele H on Jun 19, 2019
Many other reviewers recommended.
CheA W on Jun 15, 2019
I just ordered LOF to use with my dgtr this Fall when we start homeschooling. I’m excited to see the books & to use them w my lil girl to help her enjoy learning Math😊
Kristine G on May 2, 2019
Student asked to use this rather than her hybrid school's selection.
Chelsea G on May 1, 2019
Math for our homeschool
User on Apr 15, 2019
I wanted the Life of Fred Elementary Set and, as always, Rainbow Resource was the best price!! My son gets stressed out with formal math but he loves to read and be read to. I am paranoid that he won't get any where in life without a formal education yet I am a huge believer in Unschooling. This is my half way point. I feel like it will be less formal but not totally unstructured. I am very excited to get these books!
Kelly S on Apr 11, 2019
Highly recommended by all the other homeschool moms around
Melissa W on Mar 30, 2019
We checked Apples out from the library first and LOVED it. My daughter was getting frustrated with "too many numbers on the page," with our other program we were using, so this was a great way to step back and enjoy math again
Tiffany D on Mar 18, 2019
I have heard only great things about this series .
Emily S on Feb 15, 2019
Supplement Saxon math and come at it from a different approach
Rachel C on Feb 3, 2019
Recommended by a friend.
Jen Paraska on Dec 27, 2018
I wanted something as a supplement to our Right Start Math.
Jessica M on Nov 7, 2018
Heard it was an awesome series for kids who are having trouble with understanding math.
Myeisha H on Sep 2, 2018
Reviews online said that this series focuses on understanding math concepts and learning how to apply them to real-life situations vs memorizing information.
Christine B on Aug 22, 2018
A great program, he added from the older levels to the younger levels, so now I have a little one again, I am adding the ones I don't have.
Kathleen B on Aug 16, 2018
Homeschool co-op group
Jennifer O on Aug 15, 2018
Math is definitely our weakest subject, even though my husband and I have tried not to show it! Everything we've read about LOF--especially the reviews--gives me hope that we've finally found a curriculum that can work. Fingers crossed!
Olivia B on Aug 11, 2018
Like the reviews, sounds like a neat way to teach math
Elizabeth S on Aug 2, 2018
I've heard rave reviews from several friends and I believe the creative story lines and fun illustrations will appeal to my boys.
Alyssa W on Aug 4, 2020
Recommended by a friend
Jessica H on Aug 1, 2020
Is this a supplement to math or a complete curriculum?
User on Mar 29, 2017
BEST ANSWER: That is a matter of opinion. I know some people use these books as their only math curriculum. The stories are very engaging and in a kind of Charlotte Mason style, they cover a wide range of topics and interest, all while practicing math concepts. At the end of each chapter, there are between 3-10 practice problems that the student is to work out on a separate sheet of paper or a notebook, and answers are included on the following page. There are 18-19 chapters per book. I prefer to supplement with other workbooks for a more rounded out and progressive knowledge, but this does an excellent job of keeping the students interested and engaged in Math. The books go in alphabetical order, with Apples being about a Grade 1 level, and Butterflies Grade 1-2, Cats and Dogs Grade 2-3, etc.
4.9 / 5.0
30 Reviews
5 Stars
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1 Star
I'm glad we purchased this.
My 7- and 5-year-olds are really enjoying "Life of Fred". We started with "Apples" and finished it in a week because they wanted me to read more than one chapter a day. Now, we're enjoying "Butterflies". I appreciate that advanced concepts are presented; not for mastery, but to whet the appetite for higher math.
May 17, 2020
3 months ago
Excellent supplement to math curriculum
My children have devoured the Life of Fred books. They love the story format of the books, but are still learning math in the process. I use these to supplement my regular math curriculum. I have a 10 year old who struggles with math and these books have been a tremendous help in getting her excited about math. I am amazed at how much she enjoys reading them and doing the math problems after each section. The terminology and concepts of math seem easier for her to grasp and retain due to the story format.
January 28, 2020
7 months ago
A purchase you won't regret! Can be read again & again!
AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME! What a treat this Life of Fred is! I have 3 boys ( grades 2/4 & 6) and they absolutely LOVE it! So much so that they read the books on their own. My 4th grader is on Farming & we've had them for a month?

The black & white pages did not deter them from being interested. The combination of silly sketches & (even sillier) stories is a win -win! I'm learning some new things as well!

The simple application questions referred to as " your turn to play" are short & to the point. No kill & drill here!

Can't say enough good about these UNIQUE "out of the box" books!
November 18, 2019
9 months ago
Great series
Started with Apples (got the whole 10 book set) for my 5th grader. I figured he wouldn't learn anything in the earlier books, but I was wrong. From book one, he was already learning things. I recommend these for kids who learn by storytelling or like to read fun stuff. My son loves them, he's ADHD and doesnt enjoy reading much.
I also recommend starting in the beginning and working your way up.
October 24, 2019
10 months ago
My daughter is doing homeschooling and is very happy about the books thanks you.
September 9, 2019
12 months ago
This is so much fun! Math is our new favorite summer subject. I can't believe how much we are learning. My 6 y/o talks about if things are commutative or orthogonal.
July 7, 2019
over 2 years ago
Gender confusion
Last book of elementary series has a disturbing discussion on gender identity.
May 26, 2019
1 year ago
Response from Rainbow Resource Center
We appreciate the thoughts and concerns shared regarding the Life of Fred Jelly Beans book. Our impression is that the conversation is within the context of language development through and example of a child's rag doll. Here is the conversation: "Lacking another segue, she held up her doll and said, 'This is Rag-A-Fluffy doll." Fred had heard about Rag-A-Fluffy dolls but had never seen one. He asked, 'How can you tell whether it was a boy doll or a girl doll?' 'My mommy said that I could pick.' Fred thought to himself, Its amazing how a person's speech changes as he/she grows up. Three year old: I could pick. Six-year-old: I could choose which one. 13-year old: R U Cra-Z? College graduate (from a good college): My mother informed me that I could select the gender of my soi-disant child. Joe: I thought they were all girl dolls. Darlene: My doll (thinking of Joe) is a boy doll." ~Deanne
June 4, 2019
Great books for reading and math
These are perfect little books. Love that the lessons are short but full of information! Easy to understand and best of all fun!
March 12, 2019
over 2 years ago
So far so good!
I have just begun to use this resource in the hopes of jump starting our math program. So far my son is really enjoying it. The use of story and fewer problems makes it very painless, but the number of concepts presented keeps it interesting. I am looking forward to the whole series.
October 4, 2018
over 2 years ago
Not sure who's enjoying this series more. My girls or mommy! Lots of fun so far...
August 12, 2018
over 2 years ago

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