Life of Fred
Books & Curriculum for Homeschool
This is a literature-based approach to mathematics, and the funniest math books you'll ever encounter. These story-based math texts will not only make math fun and clear, your students will also gain solid preparation for SAT exams and upper-division mathematics.
Follow the humorous story of Fred's life as he encounters the daily need for math and the methods of solving the problems. Each short novel is loaded with humor, clear math explanations, and silly illustrations that you'll be sure to remember. You'll also learn how to think mathematically. These Life of Fred books ensure you'll never be tempted to ask, "But when will I ever use this?" Fred has already demonstrated, precisely, where this will come in handy.
But be warned! This is not your typical math program. Your children will learn to think! There are no step-by-step directions and answers to every question. Oh no. This program is deliciously different. Your students will learn formulas, how to apply them, and why life works that way. These books rely on reading comprehension and careful thinking. You will not find rote spoon-fed learning here. So you, as the teacher, must resist the urge to try to shoehorn in those traditional memorization methods.
Life of Fred Books
Like all great literature-based programs, you can reuse each book with all your children (and even grandchildren). There are no workbooks here. And these aren't skimpy books. Each Life of Fred book is comprehensive, covering more ground than many college level courses. Sound intimidating? It's not. Join Fred on his adventures and discover how math can be a joy!
Elementary Series Life of Fred Books
Kindergarten through 4th Grade.
Intermediate Series Life of Fred Books
4th & 5th Grade. These books cover topics for roughly grades 4-5 and prepare your child for Life of Fred: Fractions. By the time your child finishes Jelly Beans, they will have the skills to begin learning fractions. But because a student can quickly progress through the elementary books, your student might not be old enough for Fractions (author recommends 5th grade). That is where this Intermediate series comes in handy. These books allow your child more practice of arithmetic until they are old enough for Fractions (author recommends 10 years of age).
Pre-Algebra Life of Fred Books
Pre-High School Math. This set can be started with any child who can add and subtract well and knows how to do long multiplication and division. This set would be considered a middle school math program, for students in 5th through 9th grades. Many high school aged students would benefit by going quickly through these books to lay foundations that they might have missed.
Zillions of Practice Life of Fred Books
Need extra practice or stuck on a particular kind of problem? ? Each Zillions of Practice book is keyed directly to the corresponding textbook. Each of the chapters contains both exercises on the current topic and review questions from the beginning of the book up to that point. All the problems have completely worked out solutions.
Additional Life of Fred Books
Learn more about Life of Fred, the advantages and disadvantages of the program, and what makes it unique.
There's not another math program quite like this one. Never again will you hear, "Math is boring," or "When will we use this in real life?"
Each book is a humorous story. Students follow Fred Gauss, who in the course of everyday life runs into situation after situation where ... surprise: He needs to know math. He solves real problems because he has a reason to.
Don't be fooled by the fun, non-math-like, titles like Goldfish, Mineshaft and Liver. Each book covers concepts comprehensively. Learning relies on reading the self-teaching stories and careful thinking. Clear explanations and goofy illustrations make math stick with your children and prepares them for upper-level coursework.
Life of Fred creator, Dr. Stanley Schmidt, recommends that students through Grade 4 start with the Apples book, and then complete the books in the order prescribed.
Don't be misled by the basic titles. Life of Fred math and science books cover much more in each text than you may expect. As you click through each title, you'll see a list of what's covered (some people call this a "Scope and Sequence." You will be best served by going through each book in order.
Kindergarten through 4th Grade - Elementary Series Life of Fred Books
- Ice Cream
- Jelly Beans
4th & 5th Grade - Intermediate Series
These books cover topics for roughly grades 4-5 and prepare your child for Life of Fred: Fractions. By the time your child finishes Jelly Beans, they will have the skills to begin learning fractions. But because a student can quickly progress through the elementary books, your student might not be old enough for Fractions (author recommends 5th grade). That is where this Intermediate series comes in handy. These books allow your child more practice in arithmetic until they are old enough for Fractions (author recommends 10 years of age).
5th Grade and above
5th graders and some 6th graders should start with the Intermediate series before starting with Fractions. You'll even benefit from the last two books in the Elementary series as well (Ice Cream and Jelly Beans). After you know your addition and multiplication tables, you are ready for Life of Fred: Fractions. You will go far beyond elementary knowledge of fractions! Even if you already know how to divide up a pie so that you get the biggest "fraction," this is absolutely the right place to start.
NOTE: If your student has finished all of the Elementary books but is not old enough for 5th Grade, we recommend that you go through the Elementary books again. Like any good book, you learn more the second (or third) time through. You don't need to hold your student back, but your child will not be behind if you wait until they are 10 before tackling the Pre-Algebra series.
It is also recommended that you have younger students (1st or 2nd grade) go through the first few books with you before doing them again on their own. This will give them necessary review and give them time to prepare for Life of Fred: Fractions.
If you can count, add, and subtract to 10, you are ready to start Life of Fred: Apples. All students through 4th grade should start with Apples as even these early titles introduce higher-level math concepts you will need later.
Because of its unstructured, story-centered approach, the Elementary series doesn't spend much time teaching math basics.
There are no workbooks with practice problems, no step-by-step instructions, no answer keys and no rote memorization.