Instead of nothing but dry exposition and endless drill exercises, the Life of Fred books contain fun stories about Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius. During his hilarious adventures, he encounters every day math situations that call for solving mathematical problems. Children actually want to read these books.
The stories carry on through the exercises, leading the student through them. Many of the books have a series of quizzes called Bridges every few chapters. Passing a quiz means the student is ready for the next chapter. Some books have all the problem solutions in them, while others have separate answer keys or companions.
Who is Fred?
In one of the Life of Fred books, Fred Gauss was born on the western slopes of the Siberian mountains. By the end of the final book, he is six years old.
In his everyday life he first encounters the need for each new part of mathematics, and then comes the mathematics. Never again will students have to ask their perennial question: “When are we ever gonna use this stuff?”
Fred, a 5 year-old math genius
When can my kids start Life of Fred?
If your child knows how to count, add, and subtract to 10, they are ready to jump in with Fred. The elementary math series is geared toward Kinder to 4th graders.
The series begins with Apples, which covers everything mathematical from numbers, days of the week, telling time, shapes, counting and zero. Fred also skims concepts like dressing for cold weather, identifying oceans, why boats are cheaper to rent in the winter, Titanic, and more! The book contains 19 lessons and is designed to be completed in about one month. See a sample here.
The series continues with Butterflies, Cats, Dogs, Edgewood, Farming, Goldfish, Honey, Ice Cream, and Jelly Beans.
Does Life of Fred go beyond elementary books?
Yes! The creator, Stan, brings Fred all the way to college!
Here’s a complete list of every Life of Fred series:
Life of Fred Elementary Math Series: Apples, Butterflies, Cats, Dogs, Edgewood, Farming, Goldfish, Honey, Ice Cream, Jelly Beans
Life of Fred Intermediate Math Series: Kidneys, Liver, Mineshaft
- Designed for students who aren’t 10 yet, but already finished elementary books. Best for students who can add, subtract, and who understand multiplication and division.
Life of Fred Fractions and Decimals: Fractions, Decimals and Percents
- Looking for pre-algebra help? Can your student solve these equations: 5 + 8, 8 – 5, 7 times 8, 6231 divided by 93? Then he or she is ready for the Fractions title.
Life of Fred Pre-Algebra Series: Elementary Physics, Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology, Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics
- Fred does physics before algebra. In this series, he learns about slope, ordered pairs, graphing points, numerals, and more. This is a fun math book to help with algebra lessons.
Life of Fred High School Math Series: Beginning Algebra, Zillions of Practice Problems for Beginning Algebra, Advanced Algebra, Zillions of Practice Problems for Advanced Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry
Life of Fred High School Language Arts Series: Australia, Begin Teaching, Classes, Dreams
- Each book contains 19 cohesive lessons on grammar, language, writing, common mistakes, and basically the entire English language. The creator suggests doing these four books once every year during your students’ high school years.
Life of Fred College Math Series: Calculus, Statistics, Linear Algebra, Upper Division
- In a single lecture hour, Fred completes a whole year of high school chemistry.See a sample here.
Life of Fred Logic
- The first six chapters of this book make a dandy high school course in logic.
Can adults learn from Fred too?
Let Fred help with financial education for kids. It’s very likely that you, the adult, will pick up a tip or two while teaching. In Life of Fred: Financial Choices, students learn three reasons to use a credit card, five places to invest, what real estate to buy and when, the seven taxes of categories, and more economic lessons.
What Educents customers are saying about Fred:
“We were tired and stressed and just plain over it in our homeschool journey this past year. My daughter fought me every step of the way, mainly because of math. This is just not her strong suit and no matter how hard I tried, I just could not find the spark. At my wits end, I purchased this product hoping that it would engage her in a way that other programs had not. I wanted her to see that math can be enjoyable and is used in so many interesting ways. After reading the description I thought it may be a good fit for our family and that maybe the diverting stories would also be a good way to relax her and not make her feel so pressured to perform. We read Apples for the first time yesterday and this morning she begged me to “read the Math Story again! I want to do that!” I dusted my chin off after it fell to the floor and wished silently to myself that I had known about this wonderful book series sooner.If you are on the fence and unsure if you will see a return on your investment – I encourage you to at least buy one to try. You will be so glad you did!“ – Andrea M., Educents customer
“I have been using the Life of Fred books with my 1st and 4th grader. We read one chapter daily during breakfast, then answer the questions at the end of each chapter. It usually takes us 20-30 minutes to complete the chapter. We started with Apples, because the info. I found on the website explained that there is a story theme that runs throughout the books. I’m so glad that I didn’t ignore that advice and try to start with a later book. If you have an older child(or children), you could probably do more than one chapter a day and get through the earlier books quicker – especially if your child is a good, solid, independent reader. With our schedule, we are enjoying one book a month. It is difficult to compare Life of Fred to other standard, strictly Math curricula because, well – it’s just so different. Each lesson includes so much more than just Math. There are elements of history, geography, physics, geometry, philosophy, grammar, critical thinking skills, extreme silliness, art history, and so many other topics throughout the books.” – Rochelle M., Educents customer
“My daughter is 9 and we just started her with the first book, Apples. We followed the advice of the website and so far, I’m glad we did. Because most of it is repeat material, we are moving quickly, but we are still learning new material. Also a great way to make sure there haven’t been any educational gaps. As another commenter mentioned, there are so many other elements and even though at the very earliest levels, we are learning how to add, they are introducing concepts that will be used much later. What a great way for kids to be familiar with things that will be challenging later on.” – Jayme M., Educents customer
“I have a 9 yr/ 3rd grade and I thought I’d start her at Farming. We just finished the 5th chapters and I think it’s best to go back to the beginning (for her) and start with Apples. There is certainly terminology used in Farming that’s introduced in earlier books and was foreign to my daughter – this was causing a little frustration. So – since there’s basically 2 books per grade … I figure it’ll be better to start off sorta easy and pick up all the little things along the way. If you do one chapter a day -we can generally get through one book a month.” – Rebekah H., Educents customer
"Life of Fred is quirky, to say the least, but inside the stories are REAL math problems. This fits well with a Charlotte Mason education style or a living books education or for any child who has struggled to grasp concepts in the traditional way (often because they cannot connect them to tangible things)." -Amy, Raising Arrows