Ever since I started homeschooling my boys eight years ago, there was always a buzz around Life of Fred. If you’re not already familiar, the Life of Fred books are books that teach math in a very unconventional way. They teach math by taking you on an adventure into the life of a 5-year old boy named Fred.
For years I wondered how Life of Fred would impact our homeschool. It wasn’t until my boys were 9 and 11 when Life of Fred books were added to our homeschool curriculum.
Life of Fred books can be used as a standalone curriculum, especially if you started with the Life of Fred elementary books. The books build on each other. You can start the “before high school” books if your child has mastered the basics of arithmetic — addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
We are using Life of Fred as a supplement to our math studies. When we started with Life of Fred Fractions, my boys were already familiar with most concepts (they are between 4th and 6th grade math skills). However, the story and the practice questions served to cement their previous math lessons. As we progressed through the book, a few new concepts were introduced, especially to my younger one. I was very pleased to see how the topics of each chapter served as review practice for my boys.
The boys really enjoy hearing about the story of Fred’s life. At first it sounded weird, Fred is a 5-year-old math genius, really? It didn’t take long for my boys to get hooked on the Life of Fred books – there’s humor and math woven throughout the story. They always look forward to find out what happens next.
The Fred books are easy to add to your homeschool lesson plan – just read a chapter a day, and complete the “your turn” section. The chapters are a balanced length – short enough to keep the child’s attention but long enough to keep him wanting more. Some days you could even do two chapters. The exercises that follow each chapter are also easy to work through. Some chapters are more challenging than others. When a chapter gets challenging, my boys complain for a bit but want to keep going with Fred instead of giving up.
We do have another math curriculum we are using on the side as well, but independently from Life of Fred. We have been using CTC Math for the past year, and are now just started using A+ Interactive Math. If I need extra worksheets for practice (which only happened once so far – and we are almost done with Fractions) I go to MathDrills.com.
The child can use life of Fred independently, but my sons and I like to work on it together. My oldest loves to read the interactive part of the story, but still I do most of the reading, then I leave them to answer the “your turn” part. My boys are pretty good at doing the work without looking at the answers that are located on the same page, and checking it after they are done answering the questions.
Life of Fred is very easy to implement in your homeschool. Open the book and go. Have some paper handy for the exercises, a comfy chair or couch, a sense of humor and a love for stories, and you are set.
I would definitely encourage you to check out Life of Fred if you have not yet done so.
Joelle is a homeschooling mom of two upper Elementary/Middle School energetic and funny boys. Originally from the French island of Martinique and married to a Filipino, she is now in Toronto where her husband is pastoring. Joelle is a lover and student of theology. Her other loves are teaching, singing, playing games, laughing and baking. You can follow her homeschooling adventures, reviews, and recipes @ Homeschooling for His Glory.
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