When I asked for purchase suggestions for the RVHEA library last year, many members requested the Life of Fred books. I’m so glad they did! I bought Apples through Mineshaft (the first 12 books in the series) last spring. While they sat in my home office waiting to be catalogued, I decided to start reading them with my kids – ages 9 and 7 – while continuing on with our current math curriculum.
Fred (the main character in the books) is a 5 year old math professor at Kittens University. This premise in itself was enough to get my kids giggling right away. Fred experiences many adventures that just happen to teach math and other concepts along the way. The stories are really funny for both kids and parents and the learning is real. I absolutely love how the author teaches advanced vocabulary in a simple way that kids understand. For example – brushing your teeth and washing your face are commutative, but putting on your socks and tying your shoes are not. Fantastic!
Even though my kids are beyond addition in their math skills, we started with the first book Apples in order to get the whole story. Right from the first chapter, the kids were begging me to keep on reading (seriously!). I had to cap them at 3 lessons each time we sat down to read the book or we would never have had the chance to do anything else. For younger kids who are just starting to learn the concepts, 3 lessons at once would be way too much to absorb. However, for older children reading the earlier books for story flow purposes, it was not a problem to go that fast. Each book has about 18 lessons, making it the perfect type of item to borrow from the library and return when I’m done well within the 4 week lending period.
Life of Fred is advertised as a complete math curriculum, and those who are Charlotte Mason enthusiasts may agree with that statement. However, we are choosing to use it as a supplement. It’s a great complement to our mastery-based curriculum. My kids are seeing different concepts in action in the stories. For the skills they have already learned, it’s a quick review and fun application. For the ideas they haven’t seen yet, it’s getting their appetite wet to learn more.
If you’d like to use Life of Fred in your homeschool, click here to put your name on the waiting list for the Apples book. A library volunteer will notify you when the book is available for check-out.
You can also check out the full list of titles available at the library here: http://rvhea.org/library/search-catalog/