Unexpected Lessons from the Life of Fred Math Books

In considering math programs for my youngest math-loving boy for next year, I decided to check out Life of Fred.  Yes, it’s the time of year that I’m considering next year’s curriculum choices for my four boys.  A lot is going to remain the same.  We love Heart of Dakota and we’re sticking with that for history and science, but I like the freedom Heart of Dakota offers to explore other Arithmetic and English options.

Choosing a math curriculum for my youngest son has always been challenging for me.  Not because he struggles in math, but rather the opposite.  He loves it!  He has always loved numbers even from a young age.  I remember him standing next to my husband when he was five and telling us what percentage was left for the book we were downloading.  That’s triple-digit subtraction right there — and we hadn’t even started school. It’s been difficult choosing a curriculum that challenges him and yet doesn’t push him too hard.  I think Life of Fred would do just that.

Life Of Fred is like no other math program out there. This math book series is known for weaving math concepts into exciting stories about a 5-year-old math genius. The author has tossed in valuable lessons that kids wouldn’t typically find in a math textbook.  We’ve used their books before and one of the things I loved were all the extra tidbits of information thrown in.  I think everybody in the house who could read ended up reading them.  Now what other math textbook could you say that about?

It seems like we’re not the only ones that think that.  Many of Fred’s readers will say that these books are very fun to read. But why? Here’s what one homeschooler says about the books:

“Even if the math concepts are a review, your kids will enjoy learning about the zany extras in each book. My son still enjoys saying toenail in German. That’s an additional important life skill if I say so myself. ?” -Jamerrill, FreeHomeschoolDeals.com

It’s true that the Fred books are full of unexpected lessons beyond math concepts. Here are a few of the unexpected lessons you will find in the Life of Fred Elementary Math Series.

Unexpected Lesson #1

In the Life of Fred Butterflies book, students will learn linear measurements, time, geometry, and specific numbers!

In Chapter Nineteen of Butterflies, “Mysteries of Life,” Fred and his buddy Kingie receive a pizza delivery. Kingie proceeds to chomp down his half of the pizza (Kingie says he is so hungry because “being an artist is hard work”). But Fred takes a moment to set the table while the pizza cools off. He shows the reader how to set a table:

Placemat goes down first.
Then the plate and the napkin.
Then the fork on top of the napkin.
Knife and spoon on the right with the knife next to the plate.
The cup above the knife.

One page later, your child receives practice sheets for addition and subtraction!

Unexpected Lesson #2

In the Edgewood book, students work with concurrent lines, the commutative law of addition, touch on quadrilateral shapes, and more! The materials covered in this 128-page book are parallel lines, right angles, functions, quarter of an hour, half dozen, six examples of functions, math poems, the four kinds of sentences, firearm safety & more!

In Chapter Fourteen, “Food and Warmth,” your student reviews how to calculate half of a number, measurement of distance, counting calories in a meal, and the phases of the moon. Fred’s bus breaks down outside of town, and he was determined to run to town to get help. It was 6 p.m., and Fred did not want to run in the dark.

“Maybe there will be a full moon, Fred thought. Then there would be enough light to keep on running.”

In the next chapter of Edgewood, Fred explains the meaning of voluntary and involuntary actions. How does he fit all of these lessons together to create a funny math story? You just have to read the book and find out!!

Unexpected Lesson #3

In the Honey book, students work on fun math activities with Fred as he goes through fractions, multiplication facts, unit conversions and more! Perhaps your child hasn’t thought about starting their own business yet, but it’s never too soon to spark the idea to become an entrepreneur. In Chapter Fourteen, “Starting a Business,” Kingie puts on his businessman hat. (Fun Fact: Kingie sells his own art.) Kingie explains the risks of starting your own business. He then goes over the “Checklist for Starting a Business” with Fred.

At the end of the chapter, the reader is asked to check Fred’s business calculations. Will his business be profitable? Later in the book, Fred continues to follow his dream of becoming an apiarist. (Yes, the book explains what an apiarist is too!)

You can buy Life of Fred on the author’s website.  You might also be able to find them used online since they are non-consumable (I like eBay). Those are my favorite kind of books!  (Since I posted this, a friend offered to sell me her used books.  Hooray!)

I love it when subjects overlap in school and we can learn about more than math during math time because that’s how real life works.  Have you ever used Life of Fred?  I’d love to hear which books you’ve used and for what ages you used them since that’s something I haven’t decided on yet.  Thanks for reading!

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3 thoughts on “Unexpected Lessons from the Life of Fred Math Books

  1. We are up to Edgewood and the kids love it! I love that it is a complete curriculum with added bonuses like those mentioned above. It does mention church in a generic, but positive way!

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