Life of Fred math books saved my homeschool!
That may sound dramatic but it’s true. My oldest daughter and I struggled and struggled to find the right math curriculum. I’m embarrassed to tell you how many mistakes I made in this process. Some of those mistakes were sticking to a curriculum that wasn’t working for her for two full years because everyone else said how great it was. My daughter was miserable and frustrated and I was miserable and frustrated. And, at the end of the two years, she was no further in math than when we started. By the time she was in “tenth grade” (I use that term loosely and my fellow homeschoolers know why), she was still two years behind and had 3 more years to go.
Enter Life of Fred. I accidentally came across Life of Fred Math books in my Internet travels. The concept of teaching math as a story was fascinating to me. My daughter was an excellent reader and the first book wasn’t expensive at all, so I figured “Why not?” and bought the first book.
What happened next was nothing short of amazing. My daughter devoured the book. And, she actually found math easy! (The is where the clouds parted, the sun started shining and angels started singing) The stories were so entertaining my daughter couldn’t wait to get to the next chapter. I even handed it to my husband one night and he was reading the book and doing the math to get to the next chapter!
If you’re not familiar with Life of Fred math books, the concept is pretty simple. It’s math explained as a story. No, not “story problems” like you and I had in school. This is the story of Fred. Fred is a 5 year math genius, teaching mathematics at Kittens University; however, even though he’s smart, he is a 5 year old and has to deal with common childhood struggles like buying a bicycle, ordering a pizza and so forth. Each chapter in “Fred’s life” really addresses a particular math concept. Throughout the chapter, Fred plays with math. Math practice for students comes in at the “Your Turn to Play” sections, sprinkled throughout the chapter. At the end of each chapter there is a “bridge” to get to the next part of the story. The “bridge” is made up of 10 questions. If your child doesn’t get the required number of questions right to cross the bridge, it’s okay. There’s more bridges!
As you can imagine, we were pretty despondent, staring down 5 years of math to complete with only 3 years to complete it. Because I was concerned about her foundation in math, I started her even earlier in the series and you know what? She completed 6 years of math in just 3 years. This wasn’t because we spent hours and hours each day working through traditional math curriculum. It was because the Life of Fred series. These books are interesting, engaging, make math completely approachable and fun!
When I say “Life of Fred saved my homeschool,” I mean it. It saved my sanity, helped my daughter graduate with a solid foundation in math and gave her confidence!
With all of that said, I am more than happy to present the following buyers guide to the Life of Fred series, by Educents.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
So, why are the Life of Fred books gaining popularity? The books follow Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius, during his exciting adventures which encounter every day math situations. Children actually want to read these books.
Your child can start using these books when it’s time to learn how to read, and your child can continue learning with Fred all the way to college! For a complete overview of the entire collection, check out each series of books below.
Click a title to learn more about each series in the Life of Fred collection:
- Reading: Beginning Readers – Language Arts
- Math: Elementary – Intermediate – Intro to Algebra – Pre-Algebra – High School – College – Finances & Entrepreneurship
- Science: Biology – Physics – Chemistry
Life of Fred Beginning Readers Series
If your kiddo is just starting to learn to read, add these Life of Fred readers to your at-home library. They are fun to read over and over together. Incorporate Fred in your early reading lessons! The complete set consists of 18 books. Each book contains 32 pages.
Who is it for? Beginning readers (ages 4 and up)
Concepts covered: counting, using a compass, patience, days of the week, colors, shapes, how to make mashed potatoes, how to build a house, and more.
Titles included in the set: Blue, Bus, Lake, Potato Dreams, Ducks, Rain, Mud, Night, Dawn, House, Windows, Kitchen, Electricity, Dinner, Evening, Garden, Peach, and Going Home
- Life of Fred Beginning Readers are discounted on Educents.com
- Sample pages of the Beginning Readers
- How to Use the Life of Fred Beginning Readers in Your Homeschool
- Incorporate Life of Fred in Your Early Writing Program
Life of Fred Elementary Math Series
Life Of Fred is like no other math program out there. It’s a story that begins with book one, and continues all the way through high school. It includes every other subject, such as science, history, geography, and more. Each book contains short, 4 to 6-page chapters, and usually is less than 20 chapters per book. This makes it possible for each child to go at a pace comfortable for them.
Who is it for? Kindergarten to 4th grade
Concepts covered: time, types of numbers, geometry, measurement, facts about stars, morse code, geography, adjectives & verbs, patterns, functions, sheet music, seven wonders of the world, math poems, percents, numbers vs. numerals, division, slope of a line, graphing, notation, the improper use of seat belts, how to prove you are not a duck, reducing fractions, and so much more.
Titles in this series: Apples, Butterflies, Cats, Dogs, Edgewood, Farming, Goldfish, Honey, Ice Cream, Jelly Beans
More about the Elementary Math Books:
- Life of Fred Elementary Math books are discounted on Educents.com
- “This is my first year home schooling and I wish I had found Fred earlier. My son loves to read, so Life of Fred makes math a cinch to teach now.” -Shanna, homeschooler
- “I see a light shining bright from within my son that was almost extinguished completely. As he watched me place the order for the complete elementary set of Life Of Fred, I said ‘I can’t wait to see how Fred starts, and I want to see how it ends too, so be ready to order more!’ I smiled and assured him that not only would Fred be part of his learning as long as he desired, but that Fred would be gift wrapped for Christmas presents this year for his niece and nephew, my 2 grandchildren. No more costly potholes for this family!!” -Janet, homeschooler
- “My granddaughter, who truly dislikes math, always wants to start the day with Fred. I have to stop her after four chapters. She would do the entire book in a day if allowed. I never thought I could use math class as a reward! And she is learning besides.” -Bette, homeschooler
- Life of Fred Math Books in Carisa’s Homeschool
- The Complete Guide to Using Life of Fred Homeschool Math
- Featured on Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks
- Samples: Apples, Butterflies, Cats
Life of Fred Intermediate Math Series
Designed for students under age 10, but already finished the Life of Fred elementary book series. Best for students who can add, subtract, and who understand multiplication and division.
Who is it for? 3rd to 7th grade
Concepts covered: Milliliters, writing numerals in checks ($4000 and not $40.00), idioms, 1/4 + 1/4 +1/4 = 3/4, elapsed time, metaphors, milligrams and pounds, rounding numbers, three-eights of 19,416, and more!
Titles in this series: Kidneys, Liver, Mineshaft
More about the Intermediate Math Books:
- Life of Fred Intermediate Math books are discounted on Educents.com
- “I was not so sure on these books. I heard a lot of good reviews but after we got them, just skimming through I wasn’t sure my 9 year old daughter would like them. I was WRONG! she really likes them! They move at a pace she likes and being one continuous story about Fred’s life keeps her interested and entertained. We will be back for more soon. She just finished Kidneys and is now on liver.” -Melisa W., Homeschooler
- Samples: Kidneys, Liver, Mineshaft
Life of Fred Intro to Algebra Series
If your student can solve these equations: 5 + 8, 8 – 5, 7 times 8, 6231 divided by 93, then he or she is ready for the Fractions title. It also might be time for you to begin using a very basic calculator to complete these lessons.
Who is it for? 6th to 12th grade
Concepts covered: less than, cardinal and ordinal numbers, adding and subtraction fractions, lines of symmetry, geometric figures, circumference, reducing fractions, sets and subsets, probability, consecutive numbers, repeating decimals, area of a triangle, square roots, ordered pairs, and more!
Titles in this series: Fractions, Decimals and Percents
More about the Intro to Algebra Books:
- Life of Fred Intro to Algebra books are discounted on Educents.com
- “My boys really enjoy hearing about the story of Fred’s life. At first it sounded weird, Fred is a 5-year-old math genius, really? It didn’t take long for my boys to get hooked on the Life of Fred books – there’s humor and math woven throughout the story. They always look forward to find out what happens next.” -Joelle, Homeschooler.
- How We Use Life of Fred Fractions & Decimals In Our Homeschool
- Samples: Fractions, Decimals and Percents
Life of Fred Pre-Algebra Series
Fred does physics before algebra. What’s the difference between math and physics? In this series, students use math and science to solve quirky, real world scenarios – all while having fun with Fred of course!
Who is it for? 3rd to 7th graders
Concepts covered: numerals, area of a rectangle, the speed of light, nine forms of energy, Hooke’s law, static versus kinetic friction, photosynthesis, metric system, Gregorian calendar, conversion factors, unit analysis, freedom versus liberty, steps in solving word problems, venn diagrams, germination of seeds, digestion, negative numbers, whole numbers, chromosomes, DNA, circumference of a circle, and more!
Titles in this series: Pre-Algebra 0 with Physics, Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology, and Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics
More about the Pre-Algebra books:
- Life of Fred Pre-Algebra books are discounted on Educents.com
- Featured on Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks
- Samples: Pre-Algebra 0, Pre-Algebra 1, Pre-Algebra 2
Life of Fred High School Math Series
Life of Fred is preparing for college! In this series, students learn algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and a few other lessons from Fred. The Zillions of Practice books are keyed directly to the chapters and topics in the associated book. Each problem is worked out in complete detail to offer additional help for a student who may have gotten stuck along Fred’s mathematical journey.
Who is it for? 8th to 12th grade
Concepts covered: infinite numbers, ratios, graphs, plotting points, averages, multiplying polynomials, solving fractional equations, Pythagorean theorem, milkshake marketing, absolute value, surface area of a cone, imaginary numbers, slopes of perpendicular lines, complex fractions, linear equations, Cramer’s rule, ellipses, graphing in three dimensions, geometric sequences, Pascal’s Triangle, right triangles, quadrilaterals, entrepreneurship, geography of Kansas, piano music, sines, cosines, functions of two angles, a preview of calculus, and more!!
Titles included in the series: Beginning Algebra, Zillions of Practice Problems for Beginning Algebra, Advanced Algebra, Zillions of Practice Problems for Advanced Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry
More about the High School Math books:
- Life of Fred High School Math books are discounted on Educents.com
- Featured on Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks
- Samples: Beginning Algebra, Advanced Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry
Life of Fred High School Language Arts Series
Each book contains 19 cohesive lessons on grammar, language, writing, common mistakes, and basically the entire English language. The creator suggests doing these four books once every year during your students’ high school years.
Who is it for? 5th to 12th graders
Concepts covered: the seven parts of speech, punctuation, spelling, similes, silent letters, rules for making outlines, the difference between a metaphor and metonymy, and so much more.
Titles included in the series: Australia, Begin Teaching, Classes, Dreams
More about the Language Arts books:
- Life of Fred Language Arts books are discounted on Educents.com
- A look Inside the Life of Fred Language Arts Books
- Samples: Australia, Begin Teaching, Classes, Dreams
Life of Fred Chemistry
In a single lecture hour, Fred completes a whole year of high school chemistry.
Who is it for? 8th grade to college
Concepts covered: exponents, atoms, conversion factors, mass vs. weight, Avogadro’s number, Kelvin scale, atomic number, isotopes, compounds, noble gasses, finding the atomic mass, early chemistry, oxidation numbers, balancing equation, and more!
More about the Chemistry book:
- Life of Fred Chemistry book is discounted on Educents.com
- “It’s solid science presented in a way that’s understandable, not intimidating, and fun. You learn math, you learn history and you learn science, all through the Life of Fred – through his experiences and teachings.” -Lisa, Homeschooler
- “It reads like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but the chemistry is solid.” -Lisa’s husband, PhD in Analytical Chemistry
- Sample of the Chemistry Book
Life of Fred College Math Series
This series is geared toward advanced high school math students, students preparing for college, or any adult who wants to brush up on their math skills while reading fun stories. Students will learn calculus, statistics, linear algebra, and advanced math puzzles (equations, not word problems).
Who is it for? 9th grade to adults
Concepts covered: functions, speed, slope, curvature, polar coordinates, Bayes’ Theorem, probability, descriptive statistics, field guides, solving systems of equations, vector spaces, linear functionals, math theory, abstract arithmetic, and more!
Titles included in the series: Calculus, Statistics, Linear Algebra, and Five Days of Upper Division Math
More about the College Math books:
- Life of Fred College Math books are discounted on Educents.com
- Featured on Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks
- Samples: Calculus, Statistics, Linear Algebra, Upper Division Math
Life of Fred Financial Choices
Let Fred help you teach your children about financial management, decisions, and choices. It’s very likely that you, the adult, will pick up a tip or two while teaching.
Who is it for? Useful for middle school kids all the way to adults
Concepts covered: entrepreneurship, spending, investing, retirement, debt, calculating interest, how to start a business, insurance, taxes, real estate, successful spending habits, stocks, mortgages, REITS, mutual funds, and more!
More about the Financial Choices book:
- Financial Choices book is discounted on Educents.com
- Sample pages from Life of Fred Financial Choices
- Reader reviews on HomeschoolReviews.com
Hello, so my 9th grade son used the LOF Fractions, Decimals & Percents, and the Pre-Algebra 0 w/Physics or Elementary physics( last book twice through) this year.
What would you recommend I call this course on his transcripts?
Thanks in advance. ☺
Me again. My son will be using the Life of Fred Pre-Algebra 1 w/Biology , Pre-Algebra w/Economics, and the Beginnining Algebra his 10th grade year. I plan on just naming that “Algebra 1” on his transcript. Does that sound right to you?
We did “pre-algebra” in 8th grade and then “Algebra” in 9th grade, so it depends on what you do before and after and what your state requirements are.
Just wondering if when you say you started your daughter out with the first book you mean the Apple book? I have a 6th, 8th & 9th grader and am trying to figure out where to start them. Because to be honest with math… they are all three at the same level.
We did start at the very beginning. Like, you, I was a bit unsure of what I was doing at the time and I figured it wouldn’t do any harm and would her acclimated to the way this program works. Because the reading was easy and fun, and the math concepts were, essentially review, we covered a good amount of material in a short amount of time.