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Life of Fred {Review}

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I’ve mentioned before that we are huge Life of Fred fans over here. It was a blog reader who first introduced me to the books years ago. Why is Life of Fred so different from other math books? First of all, they are fun to read. They are so interesting that my kids sometimes take these to bed for their evening reading! LIfe of fred, math, homeschool math, homeschool curriculum, life of fred homeschool

Each chapter begins with a story so the child actually knows when and why they would use the math. The Life of Fred website suggests  that you start all elementary age kids on book one (Apples). Yes, the work will be way too easy (the entire book drills in the fact that seven plus one equals eight) but the books introduce higher math concepts from the very beginning. Your child will also be learning how to figure out what “x” means, what {sets} are and all about the days of the week. I have all of my elementary children going through the books…and they love it for the funny stories.

LIfe of fred, math, homeschool math, homeschool curriculum, life of fred homeschoolThe pages include photos and “doodles” which keeps it from looking too serious.

IMG_0650And the end of each chapter is Your Turn to Play. This is where the actual math work comes in. The lessons are short and easy.

The other day, I popped over the Life of Fred website to see what grade levels our elementary books correlated with, and much to my delight, I found they  have added more books to the elementary series! We have owned, Apple, Butterflies, Cats and Dogs for years…and I was  happy to see that there are now a total of TEN elementary books. These now  take the child right up to the middle school and high school books. I was so excited I immediately ordered the next four books in the Elementary Series.

As much as I love Life of Fred, one thing it does not cover is basic math fact drilling. This is no problem to me since, as the website points out, that is accomplished easily enough with flashcards, apps and drills. No need to bog down a fun math book with it. My only other complaint is that in the higher levels, such as Algebra, it sometimes did not give enough practice problems for my older kids. The Life of Fred Beginning Algebra does offer a Home Companion for extra  practice, but the other books don’t (Life of Fred goes all the way to Calculus!)



  1. Keeslermom

    We’re huge fans of Fred too! He makes math fun, and answers that age old question “when will I ever use THAT math skill in real life?”! I was hoping this was going to be a giveaway!

  2. Davene Grace

    We’re HUGE Life of Fred fans here, too! Every year at our state homeschool convention, we buy a few more of the series. I especially like the fact that they’re fairly inexpensive and non-consumable; I anticipate many happy moments spent in the company of Fred as my younger children get old enough to learn from them, too! 🙂

  3. Emily

    Nowhere near having kids – but these books sound so cool! I have heard of them over the years on your blog – and will be sure to buy them for my own kids, even if I don’t homeschool, they seem like a great way to get kids actively engaged with maths.

  4. Monica Cole

    I am a high school homeschool student in Bellingham, and I used Fred for several years, though I no longer do. While I loved Fred at first (and really still do), I struggled once I got to Algebra. I’m not always very “mathematically minded” and I often felt like he expected greater leaps of logic then I could manage. He would give problems that he had not told how to do, though they were related to the section in question, and expect that you would understand the link. While I imagine that many students have no problem with this, I did, and I am now using Teaching Textbooks, which I don’t like as well in many ways, but I do feel like I am learning more effectively.

    I don’t know if you remember me, but my sister Isabelle and I were part of a homeschool girl scout troop that you were part of. We were part of it for several years, but our last year was your first. When I found your blog randomly a few months ago, I recognized your daughters from the troop! It’s a small world!

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Yes, I remember you, Monica! Thank you so much for sharing your perspective here. I think that will be very valuable to other parents/kids.

  5. Mary

    Life Of Fred rocks! I’m counting on it to get my 8 year old through the month I take off for the birth of our fifth child. And I hope to use it throughout the summer months as well

  6. Hilltrain

    We order ours through Free shipping and very fast. 🙂

    We haven’t used any of the elementary books. We only have a few of the books–Fractions, Decimals/Percents, both Pre-Algebra books, and now the expanded edition of Beginning Algebra. (We also had Geometry, but only did the first few lessons. I had wanted it for a summer review/reinforcement for my daughter, who does fine in math and had just finished Math U See Geometry, but it was just too different of an approach; it was more like re-learning concepts w/ different lingo and processes. Not the best idea since she’s nearing graduation.)

    I got the Fractions, Decimals/Percents, and both Pre-Algebra books for a different student who has a harder time with math. While she didn’t love LoF, I liked those levels for her, and they were different than a traditional textbook. She is currently doing the expanded edition of Beginning Algebra and will be done around Christmas, thankfully. I have to agree with what Monica said above.

  7. bemis

    Do you supplement LOF with anything? I was thinking manipulatives, games, and flash cards, etc. in the lower grades and Keys to… in the upper grades. Since you know how LOF works and its order, would you suggest Keys to… before, after, during, or not at all with LOF?

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