My daughter (10) is really struggling with math. I actually heard the words, “I hate math!” come out of her mouth the other day, and it made me really sad. I’ve tried several different math programs, and we are currently using Saxon 5/4. I looked into Life of Fred this evening, and it piqued my interest. She loves to read, and it looks like a really fun way to learn.
My question is this–do you use Life of Fred in conjunction with another math program? Or do you just focus on mastering that one part of math at a time? She is proficient in her math facts at this point, so I’m not worried about that. I do hate to quit a book mid-way through ( I really need to get over that!), but I’m just worried that what we are currently using will turn her against math for good.
I thank you, in advance, for your advice. I’m looking for a fresh start or point of view for the beginning of this next school year.
I don’t know that there’s one right way to use LOF. We did a few chapters and then took a break to Teaching Textbooks. My daughter really liked it. The style is radically different from any other math approach. A very quirky sense of humor too!
I’m a firm believer in variety, so I like switching up resources. LOF is just one part of our total math curriculum. Just because you put down Saxon and switch to LOF doesn’t mean you can’t come BACK to Saxon later. So don’t think of it as not completing or persisting. Just think of it as adding variety. Sometimes a change of materials is enough to motivate learning again.
It is a total math program. I was a mite concerned about the short lessons, but my son is bringing me these long pages of work because the problems are short, but extensive. I compared the index to Saxon and it seems all there. Fractions and Decimals & Percents could be knocked off in one year. They are only about 45 lessons each, I think. My struggling 7th grader did the Fractions last year and will move to Decimals & Percents this year, as well as either completing the Algebra 1 or at least getting 1/2 way through. They say that Beginning Algebra is not necessary, so we’ll see. My 6th grader will do the first two books this year and then Algebra 1 in 7th grade. I will say, though, that it is ‘different’ enough that I am keeping my eye on their progress as compared to the tests in Saxon. After the first two books, it would seem like they should be able to test out on the Saxon 76.
We used Fractions and Decimals and Percents last year for my son’s sixth grade year. I found that the problems were not enough, so I supplemented each lesson with just a few more problems from a textbook I had on hand. He really enjoyed the books. We just started our school year today (!), and we will be using LOF Pre Algebra with Biology (just ordered it). I will be supplementing with a few problems a day (and I mean just a few!) from the text I have on hand and also with a few problems a day from MEP. When I say supplement, I do not mean do more than one math program. I will just add a few problems each day in addition with his LOF work.
If I had to do Saxon, I might hate math too ; )
Vicki in NEMember
My daughter did one year of public school last year and is back home this year (Praise the Lord). She did Alg. 1 last year and so I was going to try the LOF geometry for her. What do you all think? Thank you for any advice in advance.
I have heard that once you are in Algebra and above, LOF is a very thorough and stand-alone program.
Thanks, Ladies! I am intrigued enough to try it for a little while. Saxon is just bogging us down right now, so maybe a little variety is what we need. I really appreciate your advice and time.
I was looking into the Life of Fred and was wonderin at what age/grade do you generally start this series and how have you guys progressed through it? I know every child is different as I have 5 and all have been different along the way. Just wanted some opinons on this. Thanks and God Bless.
We used Life Of Fred (Fractions and Decimals and Percents) for the last half of last school year (for my daughter ~ age 11, grade 6). We really enjoyed this math program and my daughter did well. What I did notice was that more and more my daughter had an attitude with her math. She didn’t hate math but rather was frustrated because she didn’t know how to do some of the problems. There are only a few problems with each chapter and 10 questions on each bridge (test); however they are indeed difficult. I think the theory behind the short amount of questions is that if you are able to show accurate knowledge on these questions, you obviously grasp the concept and can move on. I like this theory which is why I can’t stand the look of the Saxon text books ~ way too much repetition and amount of problems for my liking. However, I have discovered a problem with this theory. According to Sonya’s explaination of a what makes a good math program, math needs to offer plenty of practice with a new skill so that the new skill becomes second nature (kind of like talking in a foreign language ~ if you don’t have enough practice listening and speaking ~ you’re not likely to be able to use the skills you’ve gained). Life of Fred doesn’t offer enough practice with new skills to make it second nature ~ this was the frustration with my daughter. The author would throw in a question from several chapters back and since she only answered 1 or maybe 2 questions with that skill it wasn’t remembered later and frustration set in ~ she often had to look in the index to find where a concept was first presented, go to that page, reread the chapter and then answer the question. Life of Fred is indeed written to be a stand alone program; all of the concepts for each subject are in the books and the author explains things very well and is a delight to read. But, I think Life of Fred just doesn’t offer enough practice problems (while Saxon is overkill)! So, we will continue to have Life of Fred to supplement (most likely in Frebruary when boredom with schoolwork sets in ~ it will be like a breath of fresh air) and we are now going to switch to Math-U-See which is self-paced and offers a complete understanding of a concept with plenty of practice before moving on to new concepts.
Hope this helps!
I just recently bought LOF Fractions for my 5th grader to use in conjunction with Math-U-See Epsilon. My plan is to use LOF as a supplement until Algebra—then probably pick one or the other (or Teaching Textboks). We are just starting, but my plan is if my daughter can get 95% right on her MUS first page, she can go to the review—thus cutting out some pages to allow time for LOF. Probably won’t start LOF until at least mid-year.
MUS does not take long, and LOF seems like a very interesting way to look at math differently, so I’m hoping the combo will work well:) Blessings, Gina
I have been doing something similar to Gina with one of mine. She uses Math-U-See(MUS) and Life of Fred(LOF). She watches the MUS video, does the first two pages of the lesson, and one review page. She also reads one chapter in LOF and does the sample problems(your turn to play;4-10 problems). Every five chapters there is a bridge with five tries, ten problems each. If she passes the first try, she will do another try (for practice) as she reads the next chapter – so, four tries each with the next four chapters. If she does not pass her first try we will find out why and work on the concept missed. Usually understanding the concept is as simple as re-working through the chapter or a specific page. She will complete the second try and proceed as before. Some days she will work on one book, other days she will work on both. She spends 30-45 minutes per day on math. She loves LOF but was a little apprehensive about leaving MUS behind for algebra even though she has done LOF Fractions and LOF Decimals and Percentages. Recently she told me that she feels comfortable enough with LOF to use it as a stand alone curriculum for geometry next year.
I hope you find what will work for your daughter and you.
Well, Ladies, I had to update this post. I went ahead and ordered the Life of Fred Fractions book. We started school on Monday, and I told my DD that I had a new program for her to try. I had her read the “to students” part, and she was cracking up. Then I told her to go on and do chapter one and let me know if she needed help. She proceeded to giggle her way through the lesson, get all the answers correct ( I had covered up the answers in the book with a post-it ), then she gave me a hug and said, “I love math now, Mom! Thanks for getting this for me!”
I was in tears, and I wanted to share the good news with you! Thanks for all the sound advice you gave me that went into my decision. Math is now her favorite subject! ( I know it’s a little early in the school year to get too excited, but we’re off to a much better start than last year! )
I know this is a really old post to bump! just wondering if one year later you were happy with LOF? if you felt you needed to suppliment? and if you are going to use it again. thanks.
I’d like to also ask if anyone would recommend this for a child just starting school? Why or why not? Thanks!
We have the LOF Elementary series (10 books) and my 5th grade math-hater is going through those before we move to LOF Fractions. She is enjoying them. I’m going to work on reading these to my K and 1st grader because I know they would enjoy them.
With that said, we use Math U See for our mainstay. It gives us a logical progression and mastery focus. I would not just use Life of Fred beyond 1st grade, but that’s me.
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