K-boy has always been a reluctant student when it comes to math. Math facts were the bane of his existence when he attended public school. Once we started homeschooling, math was still the one subject that he would always drag his feet on. Up until two months ago we pleaded and prodded him through a very traditional math program. That was when we made the switch to the Life of Fred math series.
I first heard of this series from a homeschooling friend, who called to rave about it late last summer. Unfortunately, her recommendation came after I had already placed my orders for new textbooks, and the curriculum purchasing coffers were bare.
We're typically people that stick to a program once we invest money in it. Homeschooling carries enough expenses, without adding to them the cost of flip-flopping on textbook choices! This year however, K-boy just didn't seem to be progressing in his math studies. Sixth grade is a crucial year academically, so we made the decision in January to give Fred a try.
Wow! One look at the author's website (see link below) was enough to convince us that this could be the answer to our math woes. Stanley Schmidt is a former college professor, who has a problem with the way that math has traditionally been taught. First of all he puts the responsibility for learning squarely on the shoulders of the student, not the parent. His textbooks look more like novels, but boy is there a lot of math packed into each chapter.
K-boy is a reader, we all are around here. Instead of dreary math drills, and very dry lessons, Schmidt presents math as it applies to everyday life, well the everyday life of his charming main character, Fred. Five-year-old Fred happens to be a math professor, so in reading about his adventures students are actually exposed to math. It's just presented in a unique and appealing way.
At K-boy's level, he's supposed to handle the daily lessons on his own. No more struggle. I check his bridges (tests) for him, and if he's too confused we go back and review. The tests are frequent enough that the student can't move too far ahead if they still need more work on a concept.
M-girl and D-boy are working on the elementary series. The author recommends sitting cozily with young children while doing Fred together. That's what we do, and I'm amazed how fast they're picking up concepts. My only problem is they don't want to stop!
As parents, BadDad and I will continue to monitor progress and assure that everyone is learning. We're still using flashcards, and the occasional math fact worksheet. As far as learning new concepts though, we're all in love with Fred. He's in our home to stay!
I was not compensated for this review. My opinions are based on my own family's experience. Please visit the author's website for more information regarding this program.