A few weeks back we received the set of Life of Fred Elementary Math books. I cannot begin to tell you how excited we were to get our hands on these books.
You see, I have been eyeing them since we first started homeschooling. I was drawn to them because they seem simple to go through and easy for children to understand. We were sent the set of The Life of Fred Early Math books to review. All of the opinions are my own. No favorable review was required.
When the box arrived both my children sat eager to grab them up and check them out. In fact, N grabbed up Edgewood, because it is blue of course, and opened it right up to go through it!
He is my math lover. I knew he would enjoy these. The day after receiving our books we started with book 1 in the series, Apples. It follows five year old Fred, a teacher at Kittens University since he was 9 months old. In the first few chapters we learn about Fred’s doll Kingie who is his constant companion.
We had such a great time in the first few chapters as we were privy to information in ‘The Kitten Caboodle’ the newspaper published at Kittens University. We found out that there was a huge snow storm coming that day and that school was cancelled. Guess who didn’t read the paper that day? That’s right, Fred!! The kids and I ended up talking about so much more than math with this lesson. We discussed how the newspaper brings us information that we don’t want to miss. We talked about how the weather impacts our daily life. Not to mention how much we laughed as we read about Fred getting caught in the cold and using his mitten to warm his nose. *snicker*
Each lesson starts as with a story that revolves around Fred and Kingie. During the lesson your students are introduced to various math concepts. You cover time, numbers, addition, subtraction, rules and much more!
After reading the specific chapter there is a section called “Your Turn to Play” where you are instructed to pull out a piece of paper and complete the exercises below. They are often simple and take very little time. My children and I do these orally.
About the Life of Fred
From the Life of Fred website
These books are designed to make your child THINK! and to learn on their own. It does not give step-by-step directions and answers to every question. They learn to apply to current questions the concepts previously taught. Upon completion they will understand how math works, why it works, and how to apply it. They will know the formulas and how to apply them in real-life situations, not just situations created for a textbook. This program relies heavily on reading comprehension and thinking, not rote spoon-fed learning that is quickly forgotten. Parents can learn these novel methods along with the student, but should not try to integrate the traditional rote/memorization methods.
The Life of Fred was featured in Cathy Duffy’s Top 102 Picks! Read her review HERE
The Life of Fred Elementary Math Books
These books are published in a series that build upon each other. It is recommended that all students up to grade 4 start with the book Apples.
Here is the recommended reading order and grade level. Click through the links to view samples and learn more about each of the books in this and other Life of Fred series.
- Life of Fred: Apples – Grade 1-4
- Life of Fred: Butterflies – Grade 1-4
- Life of Fred: Cats – Grade 1-4
- Life of Fred: Dogs – Grade 1-4
- Life of Fred: Edgewood – Grade 2-4
- Life of Fred: Farming – Grade 2-4
- Life of Fred: Goldfish – Grade 2-4
- Life of Fred: Honey – Grade 2-4
- Life of Fred: Ice Cream – Grade 3-4
- Life of Fred: Jelly Beans – Grade 3-4
How we use Life of Fred
Each day the kids and I sit down and read a chapter from our current book. We take our time and discuss the different aspects of the story. I often add more to it than just math. I have N tell me about the different punctuation he sees. I sometimes hand the book to S to have her read. We all sit and laugh and enjoy the lesson together.
Then we do the ‘Your Turn to Play’ together. I have the kids take turns answering. If you have more than 1 child you understand why I do this. It takes a big longer but it makes it more fun. We go through each of the questions and then check out the answers on the next page. The drawings… oh how you have to see the drawings. SO funny!!
We are currently half way through the book Apples. We have covered addition and the distributive property. We have covered the days of the week and the months of the year. We have talked about telling time and chatted about the weather. There are even parts covering art and artists.
I plan to go through each of the books slowly. Even though my children were beyond most of the concepts covered in Apples I wanted to start from the beginning. Maybe after going through it and moving onto the next book our approach will change.
My thoughts on Life of Fred
We do enjoy these stories! They are fun and engaging. It is said that you can use this program as a stand alone math curriculum. I am personally not comfortable with that. With that said, I do think this is the perfect supplement to any curriculum you choose. I don’t think you would go wrong adding these to your daily or even weekly routine. I know that I have said it over and over by I really have to say it again, they are fun! In our house that is a huge selling point. Math is hard to make fun. It is usually dull and lifeless. Fred is a breathe of fresh air for us.