My kids do not all learn the same. My boys are the traditional math students, you show them once or twice and then they zoom through their math, and by the end of the week they’ve mastered the concept. It makes teaching homeschool math super easy. My daughter on the other hand is a right-brained creative type who is easily discouraged. Our traditional math curriculum was making her life miserable. So we switched to Life of Fred math for a while to get her confidence up (I had to edit this just as I published it because she wanted to do the same math as her brothers again for a bit, we’ll see if this sticks).
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What is Life of Fred math?
Life of Fred* is a story based math. It follows the story of Fred Goss, a 5 year old math professor at Kittens University. Each chapter teaches you a math fact or concept (or two) and then some other interesting information. At the end of the chapter are 4-5 questions for review that your child can check themselves.
How do we make Life of Fred work?
I’ll be honest, when I first saw Life of Fred* I wasn’t sure it would work. You don’t get large amounts of math facts at a time, or large amounts of problems. It doesn’t present material in a way that I follow. But my daughter loves it.
We fit this into our 20 minute homeschool schedule, and each day Princess sits down with her Life of Fred math book and a composition notebook* (and yes I do buy them in bulk like this, though usually during back to school sales). She reads the chapter, and then answers the questions at the end. If she still has time, she goes on to the next chapter.
At the end, I go over her work for the day and verify she understood everything. Sometimes she has questions about the problem, because they are 95% word problems and it’s not always immediately obvious what you’re trying to do.
Each chapter of questions reviews a couple of old concepts, and gives you a chance to practice what you just learned.
The first several books in Life of Fred* math are very simple and designed to be completed in early elementary. They do not have lots of review questions. Once you get into the later letters (Life of Fred math is organized alphabetically, Princess is completing Liver* right now) occasionally there are “Bridge questions.” This is a page of 20 or so problems that your child should get right before they continue on in the books.
Life of Fred math is designed so you read and reread the books. If you discover one book is too hard, then go back to an earlier book and redo the materials before completing the next book. Once you’re sure you’re ready for the next book you move on.
Can you use Life of Fred math by itself?
That was my question when I first got it. I bought Life of Fred* (and yes each time I’ve linked to Life of Fred it has been to a different level of the books) to have a fun way for the kids to review during the summer and during our morning time, but as I looked more and more into it, I realized you can use just Life of Fred Math. How is that you ask?
First, remember if your child struggles with a chapter, to have them go back and review an earlier chapter. Life of Fred math is designed to go through a topic several times and reread the book a few times.
Next, if you want some more practice for math facts, there are several online sites, or free printables to review math facts. Each day I have all 3 of my kids complete a “Minute Math” sheet, it’s 25 basic math problems, and their goal is to finish before the minute timer goes off. It’s been great to up their speed at recalling basic math facts.
Want to see how other’s use Life of Fred?
I put the word out to a few other homeschool bloggers and I picked a few to share here and the rest of the posts I pinned to my math board (see it after these posts).
- Teaching money with Life of Fred
- Edgewood (typing with gloves on is hard, but I swear my fingers are turning into ice cubes, okay, next day and my fingers aren’t ice<< this would also be why you don’t type when tired and not thinking straight, and she has about 8 more posts)
- Life of Fred Butterfly extensions (this blog frequently posts Life of Fred activities)
- Life of Fred review