Life Of Fred Opinions?

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  • Francis2911

    Hi All….

    Has anyone used Life of Fred Math for any grades K-3? If so, what did you think? Did you use it as a stand alone curriculum or did you supplement it with something else? Thanks in advance for the advice!




    We have used it off and on. We liked it, but didnt feel it was solid enough to take us through junior high. I did use it exclusively when my kids were k and 2nd. My 2nd grade ds needed a breather from traditional school and it really saved us. Kept us moving forward without feeling like “school”. In retrospect I think if you went through the elementary series and then switched to a more traditional math you would be doing well. There are many things we learned in LoF that we never would have encountered otherwise. Since then we have used it here and there when we hit a wall or just need a break. I definately think for K-2 or 3rd it could be stand alone. Once we got to Fractions it sort of fell apart. We needed more step by step instruction and explanation.


    My children used them as a supplement at 3rd grade and later.  They read them on their own once a week on our town day and on summer break.  They are very independent, but I still check their notebook to see how they did and if they need further help with understanding.  Most of the time, they did fine.  They have enjoyed the storyline and learned other things besides math.  It worked better for my child who does well in math versus my struggling child.  It is nice that they are not consumable books and can keep being used again with other children.


    Debbie Downer here!  😉 After all the gushing reviews, I felt let down and unimpressed by them.  My son thought the story was funny, but learned nothing about math, and became confused about math facts he already knew after reading LOF.  I also really don’t see how people can claim they are a stand-alone curriculum (there were usually only 2-4 “review” questions and some were questions like “What color was Fred’s shirt?” to see if the kid was really paying attention.  I don’t have my LOF books anymore so I can’t quote it exactly, but you get the idea) or that they’ll last through all of elementary school. The books are short, with double spacing between paragraphs (some of which are only a sentence or two) and lots of pictures, so each one only lasted my then-6-year-old about two weeks.


    My son used it exclusively in 1st – 3rd grade.  We completed all of the elementary books in those years.  There’s lots to love about Fred.  I can truly see how it taught my kids to think mathematically.  The lessons are short, but how much math do you need when you’re 8 years old?  🙂  The one thing you absolutely MUST do with Fred is make sure the child understands what he’s doing and why.  If they get a problem wrong, you need to go back and help them understand what went wrong.  After finishing the elementary series, I did not think he was ready for Kidneys-Liver-Mineshaft or the Fractions & Decimal books, so we are doing Teaching Textbooks for a while.  I think having both is good.  TT gives them the practice and drill-type work that they need as they get into more complicated math.  My son went directly from the last LOF elementary book  to 6th grade TT.  (He is about to turn 10) He is making 90’s on the lessons and 100 on the quizzes in TT, so I definitely think Fred did a good job of preparing him.    We will definitely do the Fraction and Decimal books at some point, but probably after he has a couple of years of TT under his belt.  My older kids have done the elementary series also, but not exclusively since they came out after they had already done a lot of math.  I found that once we got to Algebra, though, Fred just wasn’t enough instruction and practice for them, so we use Jacob’s Algebra.

    Here’s the thing about LOF.  It’s a totally different way of learning math.  There is no direct instruction.  You kind of have to infer how to do things.  Sometimes that takes a lot of effort.  And sometimes, like with Algebra, I think you do need direct instruction.  If you don’t have a kid who naturally wants to understand everything (I don’t), you have to make sure you are on top of things and check for understanding before moving on.  For the elementary series at least, I think the parent definitely needs to be reading each and every lesson with the kid and making sure he’s learning what he needs to learn.


    We did LOF Apples half way through kindergarten this year.  We had math worksheets from another curriculum and did a chapter of LOF a few times per week.  For kindergarten, LOF probably could’ve stood on its own as it covered what the worksheets covered and then some.  Several topics in LOF my son learned much better than the worksheets (counting by 5s, number sets, zero, etc.).  It gives real life applications, however silly they may be.  But, topics like telling time were not in depth enough in LOF and we needed additional review.  We are absolutely going to continue with LOF for 1st grade because my son insists, but we are also going to do a light version of a standard math curriculum.  If you have enough prep time, you could do LOF and  throw in some practice worksheets for review and you would probably be set.


    I used LOF as a supplement to TT. My son is now going to do LOF exclusively from Fractions on with the Zillions of practice problem books. I’m a mathy person and so I believe I can handle helping him figure the step by step how to’s if he can’t infer it from the examples given. My son figured out he could get answers for TT on the computer and so I would have to sit and watch him like a hawk and that just isn’t how I want our school to be. I felt taking that temptation away would be the best option for us and work on his character.


    We use LOF as a supplement. My kids enjoy the stories and often go back and read the books again on their own. RightStart is our main math curriculum.  I’m too math/science minded to believe it is enough, and my kids all love math as well. For us, it’s great as an add on.

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