I am forever grateful for this Math Curriculum that saved our family from constant tears and frustrations. I am also confident that my children are making the best associations and memories learning new math skills this way. This isn’t just a way to to learn Math, this is a story that even as we advance books, they remember details from previous books. To them this character will forever hold a special place in their heart . The retired college professor really was on to something when he developed this! As you may know we follow the Robinson Curriculum, however there is one deviation and that is in Math. Instead of Saxon Math like the curriculum recommends, we use Life of Fred as a stand alone since it is a complete curriculum.
My girls started a new book but it was an even more special day because my 6yo and 5yo started Chapter One of their very first book- Apples. They begged me to keep going but I had to put an end to it. Keep them wanting more 🙂
Let’s dive in to my top ten reasons why I am Life of Fred fo’ life!
1.It is FUN.
Why can’t Math be fun? It wasn’t for a few years and I hate to even think about that time. Having a child with a vaccine injury who has a hard time with certain things, math was torture. It was also frustrating for her to see her sister advancing farther along than her. With Fred the “grade books” disappeared and it became more of a story time of the same book for both girls at the same time. This allowed them to work together as a team and when one got it and the other didn’t, I stood back and let the one who got it re-teach the concept. This goes so perfectly with the Overnight Student method, that is talked about in the Robinson Curriculum. Basically whatever you teach, you retain at a much higher percentage rate than just something you learn. It’s a win-win for everybody including myself, who doesn’t have to repeat myself over and over.
2. Math in Real Life.
Everyone always wonders, “When are we ever going to use this?” especially when everybody carries a calculator in their pocket nowadays. Life of Fred though teaches you math concepts and problem solving with real life scenarios. The math is so woven in to Fred’s daily life that it seems so natural and easy to absorb. It is much friendlier than just cold hard problems on a textbook page. Kids really understand why this is a skill that is essential to their lives.
3. Life of Fred is pretty cheap.
Compared to every other Math curriculum, this is a HUGE money saver. Not only are the books inexpensive but they can be used over and over again with other kids. They are NON consumable materials which is my favorite type of curriculum or program. Each child simply has a regular notebook from walmart and when it is “Your Turn To Play” (the problems at the end of the chapter, they just need a pencil and their notebook. You can choose to purchase a set or buy each book one by one as you go. You can find these books pretty easily on a variety of online sites. Especially when you get into the higher math courses, you will see Life of Fred is a small fraction of the cost.
4. It’s not just about Math.
This truly is one of my favorites. With each chapter the kids learn something new and interesting outside of math problems. Off the top of my head one thing I remember is them learning about deciduous trees. That’s not something you get with Math- U- See! If you tend to like Unit Studies, then you would enjoy this. Instead of compartmentalizing all subjects, Life of Fred understands that there is a tangible inner coherence among all the areas of knowledge.
5. Independent Study.
One of the things I appreciate is that this program kind of complements well the philosophy of my other two favorite general curriculums, Ron Paul and Robinson. The idea is that kids really should be weaned off a teacher as soon as they are stong readers. They need to have self discipline, honesty and their own motivation. Without these skills they will fail if they attempt college level courses. With Life of Fred there are no teachers manuals, manipulative, DVDs, CDs, etc. Just the book, that’s all you need. While my children are in the elementary books I will do the teaching and reading together (such a special time I cherish), however gears will change and the transition will begin when they hit Fractions. I will say before my little ones started Life of Fred, they always sat down with the big kids to hear their lessons. They just love Fred that much and I hope everything they heard will feel familiar once they get to that book themselves.
6. It is complete stand alone math program.
I know many people who use Life of Fred feel like it isn’t enough and add another math program on top of it. Maybe because it just feels too fun, there must be more torture in involved? Ha! However, truly it is designed to be stand alone. Especially when you get to the higher math books, there is much more taught than in the big name curriculums. Sometimes If I think they would benefit for more of a review I will make them flashcards, or incorporate some game with what they learned.
7. No scheduling pressure.
Ah this really is one of my favorite things. There is no deadline and these books are not formatted to fit a typical 9 month government school year. They are designed to fit your child and you control together how long it takes them to get through one book. Once the book is over you just move on to the next book. There are no “grade level textbooks” just a series of books in order of difficulty. There just isn’t any pressure and I appreciate that just like how it is with the Robinson curriculum. A child advances as fast or slow as he or she needs to, no pressure.
8. Good Moral Stories.
I really do enjoy the stories in the series and I feel like they have great moral content for the most part, of course no book is perfect. The author is a Christian and I appreciate the faith based references in the book. For this same reason I really enjoy the McGuffey Readers also. I’ve used other curriculums where it was way overboard the other way, so I really enjoy this balance as do the kids.
9. Relies on heavy reading comprehension.
I remember in school all the ways I cheated myself to get through a class. I memorized tips and tricks and quickly forgot much of what I learned as we moved on to the next grade or lesson. There is no fake it until you make it here.
10. My kids love them.
I can’t tell you how many doodles I find of Fred all the time all over the place. Once year I made them a felt homemade doll and they wore that guy out. I heard someone makes them now, maybe their own website. While in the past I used curriculums where they were excited at the beginning for all the manipulatives, it got old fast. Not only that but there was so many little pieces I had to put away or the little kids would get into and make a huge mess. It was a constant struggle to make them available and yet not available at the same time. With Life of Fred the buzz is the character and his math stories, that’s it. They draw him on paper and make their own problems so there is nothing to put away or learn how to use myself to show them the next day. Just like I tell my kids that the action is in the books that they read, so it is with this Math curriculum.
I hope that helps you understand why we love Life of Fred and will continue to use it all the way up the college courses. In fact, I myself am currently going through Life of Fred calculus for fun! I originally got it for my husband who was considering going back to school for engineering and wanted a better way to review but when that fell through, I kept it to learn the back story of Fred. I was very impressed with it and how it taught the material!
This is NOT a sponsored post, however I will add affiliate links below in case you want to try a book for yourself and help support us with no additional cost to you!
Do you use Life of Fred? Do you love it as much as me??! 🙂 Comment below! Come back Thursday to hear the details of our next book club.