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Math Homeschool Curriculum Review – Life of Fred

by Jessica Parnell | Jun 22, 2018 | 3 min read

Humor in math? That doesn’t compute! In Life of Fred, there’s no shortage of fun ways to learn math concepts. Follow Fred Gauss through his adventures, from addition to algebra hilarious hijinks ensue.
How does Life of Fred stand apart from the rest of math homeschool curriculum? It’s non-traditional approach to math draws in students who dislike it. They won’t realize they’re learning!

What is Life of Fred?

Dr. Stanley Schmidt created Life of Fred when he realized there were gaps in how to teach math to students. Fred is a five-year-old genius who teaches at Kittens University. Every chapter tells a short story in which Fred has highly outrageous scenarios. For instance, in the first chapter of the book “Apples,” Fred wakes up early in the morning, in a sleeping bag, in his university classroom. Then, you’re immediately introduced to the concept of time a few sentences later. Page after page, chapter after chapter, you cheer for the little guy and are  captivated by his adventures.

Life of Fred is not about repetitive work. Instead, there’s a small section at the end of the chapter where there are a few problems that pertain to the story. Life of Fred focuses on learning the concepts through the story itself, not having your student work on problems after problems.

Why We Love Life of Fred

Encourages critical thinking. Your student becomes a part of Fred’s life. When he gets in a pickle (which happens quite often), your student has to think outside of the box to help him. They need critical thinking skills all throughout their life. It will help not only in their schoolwork, but in college, work life and around their home in everyday life.

Comprehensive. Life of Fred covers topics as they appear in the story, rather than introducing math concepts independently. Everything weaves together as the story progresses. Topics are built on each other. For example, in the first chapter of “Apples,” time is introduced, but then simple algebra comes a little later in the chapter. This method makes Life of Fred comprehensive.

Real-life application. Every day students learn about math concepts. Yet we continue to hear, “Where will I ever use this?” As unlikely as Fred’s adventures may seem, it helps students to  start recognizing math in their everyday life, especially in how they talk, shop, play, text, set schedules for their day, etc. And these simple concepts are just the beginning! As Fred learns and grows, so do they.  

Why Choose Life of Fred?

Fun. These books take kids on a journey. Because they are set in a story format, it plays on kids’ curiosity to learn concepts according to Fred’s ‘real life’ situations.

Clear. Each book is written in a way for students to understand.  They can relate to the story, making the math concepts easier to grasp.

Comprehensive. Whether it’s learning a new concept or understanding algebra and geometry as a whole, these books give students a full look into that subject.

This Curriculum is For…

Readers. If your student is a voracious reader, Life of Fred is perfect for them! Fred’s adventures will captivate your student. They might just want to read ahead!

Visual learners. There are many drawings and other visuals in Life of Fred. From the downright hilarious jokes to math concepts, visual learners will delight when studying this math homeschool curriculum.

Students tired of the traditional approach. Lesson, practice, assessment, repeat. Math can be tedious and boring. Students looking for a nontraditional approach to learning math may find the perfect solution in Life of Fred.

Life of Fred is unique in the aspect it combines storytelling with math. Your student will never find boring again! In fact, you might have to pry the books out of the hands. It’s that fun! Take a look for yourself at how Life of Fred makes a great addition to your math homeschool curriculum.

Jessica Parnell
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Parnell — mom, homeschool evaluator, teacher, and CEO of Bridgeway Academy. In my 20+ years of experience as a homeschool mom and evaluator, I have had the privilege of meeting homeschoolers that take a variety of approaches to their education. It is their many stories and successes that inspire me in my own homeschooling and I love to pass on the knowledge that I have gained from them to other homeschooling families. The one constant that always remains true is that there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter child.” Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made and as a result, learns and functions differently. It’s our job to ensure that we’re raising each child to fulfill their individual purpose and when we can teach in a way that inspires them, we are on our way to homeschool success. When I’m not writing or teaching my children, I like to ski, write and participate in triathlons. I graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in English and I am currently pursuing a degree in Neuroleadership.
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