Life of Fred: An Alternative Homeschool Math Program

When we started homeschooling Bookworm, we started with Saxon math because everyone recommended it.  After four months of struggling, we realized Saxon math was NOT the math for Bookworm.  We switched to Math-U-See and loved it.  I happily planned to use it throughout my homeschool career with all of my children.

Math-U-See works great for Bookworm and PB & J Girl, but Cuddle Bug, she had different ideas.

A central tenet of MUS is using the math manipulative blocks so the student can “see” the math.  Only Cuddle Bug refused to use the manipulatives.  She is NOT a kinesthetic or visual learner.  She is an auditory learner.

MUS wasn’t working for her.  Out of desperation, I turned to Life of Fred.

Life of Fred, if you don’t know, is an alternative math program that teaches math within the framework of a story about Fred, a mathematician who teaches at Kittens University in Kansas and is only five years old.  Each chapter tells of an adventure Fred has, which involves math along the way.  At the end of each chapter (each chapter is about four pages long), there are a few math questions for students to answer, but this is definitely not drill and kill.

The series starts with Apples and moves on to Butterflies and Cats on down the alphabet.  This semester we read through those three books, and some of the math by the time we got to Cats was definitely out of Cuddle Bug’s range.

But here’s the thing–each day she begged to do math so she could hear what happened to Fred.  After I read a chapter, she wanted to read more.  (We limit it to one chapter a day, though.)

While Cuddle Bug didn’t grasp all of the math, she did learn some important concepts such as how to tell time, how to count to 100, how to count by 10s and 5s to 100, etc.

Some people use Life of Fred as a complete math curriculum, but we’ve decided to use it as a supplement.  We’re also using Math Mammoth as her main math text.

Life of Fred is an unusual program, but it’s perfect for my story loving audio learner.

Have you tried Life of Fred?  If so, what are your thoughts on it?

This post is part of Blogging through the Alphabet, Letter L, hosted by A Net in Time and Hopkins Homeschool.  To read more posts focusing on a topic starting with the letter “L” click on the button below:

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  1. I’ve never done Life of Fred though I’ve looked at it several times.

  2. My son just finished the Fractions book as he got stuck on factions using Teaching Textbooks. Wile he enjoyed LOF very much, he is still struggling with fractions. So now I’m on a hunt for something else. Great review!

  3. I have not used Life of Fred, but have heard great things about it.

  4. We have used some of Life of Fred but not actually as our math curriculum. It is a fun story series, for sure.

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