Life of Fred

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4.3 (57)
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Overall rating
 
4.3
Personal opinion
 
4.4
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4.3
Ease of use
 
4.8
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3.6
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57 results - showing 1 - 20
1 2 3
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We use Life of Fred as a supplement to our main math program. My kids really like it, but I wouldn't use it as a stand alone. There is not enough practice or teaching, but as a supplement it is fun.
Grade levels used
  • 2
  • 4
Pros
Fun way to learn about math.
Cons
Not enough practice.
Do you recommend?
Yes, as a supplement.
D
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We gave Fred a try. I had high hopes, and I still have a lot of respect for the series...I just couldn't get my kids interested in it, and perhaps part of that was the timing: a baby in arms or toddling underfoot makes it hard to sit down with kids and read it with enjoyment. But the other part was, it felt like something we had to do, rather than something we wanted to do. I kept staring at it on the shelf thinking, "we really ought to get it out" but rarely did.

Even though I could tell a great deal of intelligent, thoughtful consideration went into the creation of the Fred series, the humor left my daughter flat. My son appreciated some of the slapstick and absurdity, and I appreciated some of the sophisticated wry wit behind it that went over their heads.

However, in the end, at the time, we just weren't in a place where all my kids could/would sit cuddled up on the sofa and have Fred read to them, and it just didn't grab us from the start, enough to make us want to MAKE time for it in our lives. Bottom line, we didn't use it.

I noticed and appreciated how well-crafted it was, that the understanding for why and how a concept was useful, came first, and the nuts-and-bolts of how to perform the math (along with an invitation to "try it yourself") came next. I think that is a good approach.

Much as I was disappointed that it wasn't for us at the time, I don't write off trying it again in the future... but the books are not inexpensive enough to try casually, and I don't know of any "try before you buy" option except for borrowing some from a friend.

Bottom line, they are really different from all other math curricula. Truly unique. And the approach seems like a very good one, particularly for kids who need to know WHY, before HOW, which is how my kids are. I still can't put my finger on why we it didn't work out for us. It should have. Maybe it will in the future.
Grade levels used
  • 1
  • 5
  • 6
Pros
storybook format, humorous, prompts genuine thinking, adds in lots of extra learning aside from math
Cons
The story and humor either interest you, or they don't. Also, this involves some "try it yourself" but if you want practice drills, you must supplement them from somewhere else. Also, pricey enough that it's not easy to just try it lightheartedly and be u
Do you recommend?
Sure
M
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My daughter is Math resistant, and this series has made teaching her so much easier. She really gets engaged in the stories, and forgets it's Math!
Grade levels used
  • 4
  • 5
Pros
Makes Math interesting
Cons
None
Do you recommend?
Yes
RB
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This is the only math curriculum that my kids have actually enjoyed. The stories are fun and silly, but the concepts are serious. Sometimes my daughter needs to work on a particular concept before moving on, and I just download a few worksheets and then we move on.
Grade levels used
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 9
Pros
Fun, thorough
Cons
Sometimes extra work is needed on a concept
Do you recommend?
Absolutely
M
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Overall rating
 
5.0
Personal opinion
 
5.0
Coverage of subject
 
5.0
Ease of use
 
5.0
I have used this with my own children in a limited way (they are only 1rst and 2nd) and with students I tutor. My tutoring students have all done really well with this program and enjoy learning the math with relative independence.
Grade levels used
  • 1
  • 2
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
Pros
Easy to use and read
Cons
Different than traditional curriculum
Do you recommend?
Yes, especially for students who struggle with traditional curriculums and as review
KL
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Overall rating
 
5.0
Personal opinion
 
5.0
Coverage of subject
 
5.0
Ease of use
 
5.0
A five year old college math teacher may sound like a crazy premise for a math book, and it is. It is also inventive, fun, and full of imagination. However, don't think these books lack a solid math foundation. The math is solid, as are the science, art, and other subjects your student will encounter throughout Fred's story.

My 8 year old daughter has enjoyed getting to know Fred and his doll Kingie through Apples and Butterflies. The chapters are interesting and hold her attention. She is not yet ready to read the books independently, and we do the exercises orally. A more advanced reader could work on his own.

Each chapter has a few problems to work, and I do mean a few. There is no drill; there are not sections of practice, practice, practice. I have not used Fred long enough to know if that is a "con" or not, but it certainly is not the norm in a math book. Life of Fred works well in conjunction with other more "typical" math programs if you aren't quite ready to use it as a stand alone.

If there is one group of students who might struggle with the Fred series, it would be very concrete thinkers. I have one, and he has a difficult time focusing on the math principles in the story because he is distracted by Fred's improbable story. He is very interested in the new ideas introduced once he looks past the fact that Fred is only 5. It is almost as much an exercise in imagination as math for him.

The books themselves are well-made and hold their value. If your child is struggling with traditional math programs or if you are looking for something a bit different, Fred is definitely worth a try.
Grade levels used
  • 1
  • 5
Pros
Inventive, fun, challenging
Cons
For very concrete thinkers, Fred's story may distract from the math; may not be enough practice
Do you recommend?
yes
JS
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Overall rating
 
5.0
Personal opinion
 
5.0
Coverage of subject
 
5.0
Ease of use
 
5.0
Support
 
5.0
A lot of people don't quite understand that in the younger years it is meant to teach concepts and the books are meant to be gone through more than once. You are to practice math facts separately. This can be accomplished through games, flash cards, and everyday life tasks. We even reinforce basic fractions and fraction conversion understanding through cooking. It is a rigorous curriculum without being complicated and boring. It seems too easy to many only because it is explained properly and easy to understand. For most maths it's more important to understand the concept thoroughly through explanation than to do endless problems hoping that the student "gets it" after problem 6,423. I have 2 highly gifted children and 2 average children and they all love it. The older three went from hating math to loving it and my youngest who has only ever done LoF tells everyone that math is her favorite subject. If you feel your child wants or needs extra worksheet practice you can simply get some smile workbooks. It is our only math curriculum and we absolutely love it!!:)
Grade levels used
  • K
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
Pros
Wonderful explanations, tons of interesting side facts, covers every area of math and makes it fun and simple.
Cons
None
Do you recommend?
Yes!!!!
KW
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Overall rating
 
5.0
Personal opinion
 
5.0
Coverage of subject
 
5.0
Ease of use
 
5.0
We have found this method for teaching math to engage our children and remove the angst that was brewing over math before we started LOF. We haven't found anything yet that we don't like about LOF, and we are currently up to the Intermediate Series with our oldest. The quirky story has been perfect for our boys; they've learned so much other than math even; they have learned things typically not introduced until older ages in traditional math curriculum; and instead of math being a collection of facts and equations you have to memorize, it has taken on a real-life purpose as they have seen Fred use math in everyday circumstances. I have no rating for support, because I have not needed to use it.
Grade levels used
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros
Story form makes learning math interesting, no endless worksheets full of problems, teaches much more than math facts, makes math seem applicable to life situations
Do you recommend?
Definitely recommend
B
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Overall rating
 
4.8
Personal opinion
 
5.0
Coverage of subject
 
4.5
Ease of use
 
5.0
I have used Life of Fred math with my 10 year old and 14 year old. My 10 year old is thriving with it. One thing I like about Life of Fred is how he introduces advanced concepts on a simple level much earlier than any other math curriculum. For example, he introduces Sigma in one of the elementary books, and my 10 year old totally understands it. It's not really a HARD concept, just not one that is normally introduced at such an early age. Of course, the main thing most kids like about Fred is that there is an ongoing story being told throughout all the books. This keeps my son interested and engaged and helps math not be quite so dry.

One thing I will say is that once you get to Goldfish or Honey, your student might need to take a break from doing lessons in his textbook to focus on learning his multiplication facts for a little while. From Honey on, he will have much more success and much less frustration if he's able to recall those facts easily. "Fred" even encourages the reader to make what he calls "Honey cards," which are just multiplication flash cards, and to practice them often.

Unfortunately, my 14 year old needed more explanation than was offered at his level. He started Life of Fred in Algebra II during his first year of being homeschooled. I could have gone back to an earlier curriculum to give him the foundation he needed, but decided to switch to a different curriculum. He was really enjoying the way LoF teaches math, but he was struggling too much with the concepts and getting frustrated.
Grade levels used
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 10
Pros
Fun, NOT drill and kill, advanced
Cons
sometimes doesn't give clear explanations of new concepts
Do you recommend?
Yes
L
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Overall rating
 
4.8
Personal opinion
 
4.5
Coverage of subject
 
5.0
Ease of use
 
5.0
Support
 
4.5
My son (11) uses this as his main math curriculum. He loves it. It gives the information in a story format which coincides well with his learning style. The question at the end of each chapter are called "your turn to play". There are usually just a few questions which also makes my son happy. He does not like to drill things he if can prove he understands the concept. My daughter (12) prefers more direct instruction without the story so this curriculum does not work for her.

Dr. Schmidt is wonderful about answer any questions by email or by phone. He really wants the students to independently work the math once they hit a certain age so he makes himself available to them.
Grade levels used
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
Do you recommend?
Yes
JW
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Overall rating
 
4.5
Personal opinion
 
5.0
Coverage of subject
 
4.0
Ease of use
 
4.5
This haas been especially helpful in our first yr of homeschooling. My 4th grade son and 6th grade daughter love it.
Grade levels used
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
Pros
Very easy read. Covers subjects beyond math. Does not overwhelm reader with too many concepts at once. Answers are explanatory.
Do you recommend?
I definitely recommend.
JH
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Overall rating
 
4.3
Personal opinion
 
4.0
Coverage of subject
 
4.0
Ease of use
 
5.0
My 9-year-old daughter was really struggling with math. She didn't enjoy it and she didn't understand it. We decided to try Life of Fred and things changed almost immediately. She loves reading about Fred's antics and at the same time she's learning! We started with Apples in September. Now it's November and we're almost done with Dogs. We've been able to move through the books more quickly than suggested because she has most of the basic concepts already.
Do you recommend?
Yes
JF
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Overall rating
 
4.3
Personal opinion
 
4.0
Coverage of subject
 
4.0
Ease of use
 
5.0
My student struggled daily with so many problems to work in math with no real reason to work them. Life of Fred has made math fun for him. He's able to work independently with no more tears over math!
Grade levels used
  • 4
  • 5
Pros
Easy for student to work independently, no unnecessary repetition, fun story line
Cons
No repetition when extra practice is necessary
Do you recommend?
Yes!
J
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Overall rating
 
4.0
Personal opinion
 
3.5
Coverage of subject
 
3.5
Ease of use
 
5.0
I found Life of Fred to be a great in between for my daughter. She was hating math and struggling. After many different curriculums, I went with LOF. My daughter loved the stories and enjoyed doing math. We did Apples through Goldfish, but then she couldn't keep up with the math facts and really struggled. I felt like we couldn't move on, because she couldn't get the facts down. If you read one lesson per day, it can move too quickly once you get to learning the facts. We had to stop using LOF at that point and move onto something else.

NOTE: If your child is sensitive LOF may not be good for him/her. Fred's parents are dead. His father was an alcoholic and didn't take care of him. His mother died diving into a pool and in a later book, the rate of her fall is actually a math problem. I found that to be rather morbid.
Do you recommend?
Maybe, see comments
J
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Overall rating
 
3.3
Personal opinion
 
3.0
Coverage of subject
 
3.0
Ease of use
 
5.0
Support
 
2.0
We went all out with Life of Fred, purchasing the beginning set of A-G for our younger girls and the prealgebra and algebra for our middle/high schoolers. Things seemed to be going well at first. The books were fun and the kids looked forward to math,
Trouble began when the older kids hit concepts that I didn't immediately understand. Because of the setup of the books, there wasn't a way I could just go back and look at the directions and help them. I spent lots and lots of time searching other sites to try to learn. I contacted the publisher (through an email on the site) and never received an answer.
The books for the younger girls were okay until we began getting into some of the later books. I really questioned the way that concepts were introduced. I didn't think that it allowed for time for the girls to really "get it." And I could see that at times they could get through the On Your Own section but not really understand what they had done.
It just wasn't a good fit for us.
Grade levels used
  • K
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 8
  • 9
Pros
Fun for the kids, easy to pick up and use, non consumable so cost is less
Cons
Scattered and not focused in content; no support for higher levels
Do you recommend?
No
LC
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We bought life of Fred decimal and percents and life of Fred fractions. They had been rated so highly I was convinced they would be great. The boons gave one or two examples and moved to a completely new concept. Drilling facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, percents to fractions are completely ignored in life of Fred. You read a story that uses math, and answer a few questions related I. Each chapter. My daughter finished both in 3 months. She enjoyed the stories but it didn't reinforce the concepts needed. We went with rod and staff to fill in the holes before algebra.
Grade levels used
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Pros
fun to read, interesting
Cons
Doesn't really teach.
Do you recommend?
no
K
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My 7 year old is very resistant to anything that seems to be "school work" or that he doesn't grasp right away, he loves Life of Fred and asks to "do Fred." He does not get frustrated like he does with other curriculum. We use LoF as a stand alone and he is discovering math on his own time ahead of what we have covered in the book. As someone who was math-phobic as a child I love having a math curriculum that is non-threatening and makes math accessible and applicable. As a unschooling/Charlotte Mason type homeschooler, LoF fits in perfectly with our shorter lesson times and child led learning.
Grade levels used
  • K
  • 1
  • 2
Pros
makes math fun, interesting and applicable to life, includes information on other subjects, no drill-and-kill
Do you recommend?
Highly
PA
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If your student can't get excited about a page full of math drills, or if your child loves to read, you might want to check out LOF. The stories are witty and the mathematical concepts are clear. I like that it demonstrates real-life application of math.
Grade levels used
  • K
  • 1
Pros
Engaging stories that tell when and how to use the math you know
Cons
not convinced it can be a stand alone math curriculum
Do you recommend?
yes
A
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This program was recommended to me so many times, that I thought we would give it a chance. But my daughter just didn't like it. There wasn't enough to it for her to grasp the concept. It just wasn't for her learning style.
Grade levels used
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
Pros
It is easy to read for the kids, fun stories.
Cons
Not enough work, not enough meat to the curriculum.
Do you recommend?
No
D
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My son HATED math until we found Fred. Now he loves to do math and Fred. In fact he begs me to do Fred everyday.
Grade levels used
  • 1
  • 2
Pros
Very funny and lots of fun
Cons
Don't know what grade level your child is at
Do you recommend?
Yes
C
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57 results - showing 1 - 20
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