Unexpected Lessons from the Life of Fred Math Books

 

We’ve been using Life of Fred math books in our homeschool for about 7 months now. We’re using the Pre-Algebra series with my 8th grader and the elementary series for my kindergartner and second grader. They love it! The stories are engaging. For kids who love to read, but aren’t so crazy about math, this is the ideal combination.

Unexpected lessons we've learned in our homeschool from the Life of Fred math books. hsbapost.com

Life Of Fred is like no other math program out there. This math book series is known for weaving math concepts into exciting stories about a 5-year-old math genius. The author has tossed in valuable lessons that kids wouldn’t typically find in a math textbook.

Many of Fred’s readers will say that these books are very fun to read. But why? Here’s what one homeschooler says about the books:

“Even if the math concepts are a review, your kids will enjoy learning about the zany extras in each book. My son still enjoys saying toenail in German. That’s an additional important life skill if I say so myself.  😉” -Jamerrill, FreeHomeschoolDeals.com

It’s true that the Fred books are full of unexpected lessons beyond math concepts. Here are a few of our favorite unexpected lessons from the Life of Fred Elementary Math Series.

Unexpected Lesson #1

In the Life of Fred Butterflies book, students will learn linear measurements, time, geometry, and specific numbers!

In Chapter Nineteen of Butterflies, “Mysteries of Life,” Fred and his buddy Kingie receive a pizza delivery. Kingie proceeds to chomp down his half of the pizza (Kingie says he is so hungry because “being an artist is hard work”). But Fred takes a moment to set the table while the pizza cools off. He shows the reader how to set a table:

Place mat goes down first.
Then the plate and the napkin.
Then the fork on top of the napkin.
Knife and spoon on the right with the knife next to the plate.
The cup above the knife.

life of fred excerpt

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One page later, your child receives practice sheets for addition and subtraction!

Unexpected Lesson #2

In the Edgewood book, students work with concurrent lines, the commutative law of addition, touch on quadrilateral shapes, and more! The materials covered in this 128-page book are parallel lines, right angles, functions, quarter of an hour, half dozen, six examples of functions, math poems, the four kinds of sentences, firearm safety & more!

In Chapter Fourteen, “Food and Warmth,” your student reviews how to calculate half of a number, measurement of distance, counting calories in a meal, and the phases of the moon. Fred’s bus breaks down outside of town, and he was determined to run to town to get help. It was 6 p.m., and Fred did not want to run in the dark.

Maybe there will be a full moon, Fred thought. Then there would be enough light to keep on running.

12

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In the next chapter of Edgewood, Fred explains the meaning of voluntary and involuntary actions. How does he fit all of these lessons together to create a funny math story? You just have to read the book and find out!!

Unexpected Lesson #3

In the Honey book, students work on fun math activities with Fred as he goes through fractions, multiplication facts, unit conversions and more! Perhaps your child hasn’t thought about starting their own business yet, but it’s never too soon to spark the idea to become an entrepreneur. In Chapter Fourteen, “Starting a Business,” Kingie puts on his businessman hat. (Fun Fact: Kingie sells his own art.) Kingie explains the risks of starting your own business. He then goes over the “Checklist for Starting a Business” with Fred.

13

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At the end of the chapter, the reader is asked to check Fred’s business calculations. Will his business be profitable? Later in the book, Fred continues to follow his dream of becoming an apiarist. (Yes, the book explains what an apiarist is too!)

More about the Life of Fred Elementary Math Series:

Buyer's Guide Life of Fred Blog Post

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

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What unexpected lessons have you learned in your homeschool lately?

 

Sara (149 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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7 Ways to Include Math Practice in Real Life

 

No matter what type of homeschooler you are, worksheets usually have their time and place. BUT math is an everyday part of life and should be practiced naturally — not just on paper. The best way to do this is by guiding your kids through the math needed in everyday situations and letting them take the lead when they can. I am a big fan of practical life skills and try to make sure at every stage in our homeschool life my kids are learning realistic and useful math applications in everyday situations. Here are 7 ways I do that….

7 ways to include math practice in real life. Life skills homeschooling. hsbapost.com

7 Ways to Include Math Practice in Real Life

Grocery Shopping– This includes budgeting, planning out a shopping trip from grocery store ads, comparison shopping at the store, paying, and counting change back. Allowing your child to take the lead on some of the shopping is a great way for them to get real life math experience. This can apply to any type of shopping really- school supplies, school clothes, birthdays, etc.

Cooking– This is one of the most natural ways to “sneak in” math practice. Measuring, dividing recipes in half or doubling, making substitutions, and so on. Your child will hardly realize they are learning when they are in the kitchen whipping up a treat or the family meal! Other ideas include cutting pizza into halves or quarters, pie into eight equal pieces, or figuring out spaghetti to feed the whole family.

Scheduling/Time Management-Learning to tell time was difficult and boring for my oldest child. For a while I pushed on because “She NEEDS to know how to tell time!” Finally I realized that worksheets and constant daily practice on our little plastic pretend clock was not cutting it.  I started using the clock throughout the day to mark things like technology time, reading time, and field trip start times. In the natural rhythm of our days she began to look at the clock as a way to have a grasp on the day and quickly began to pick up and have a strong understanding of 24 hours, an hour, a minute, as well as how to read our regular analog clock and new watch I gave her.

Allowance-If you give your child an allowance, they can learn to figure how much money they have coming, how much to save, spend, and tithe, how to budget wants vs. needs, and also goal setting. We made a simple “check register” on a legal pad for tracking spending and savings.

Calendar-Although we have spent time learning the months and days by rote and through song, they don’t really take on meaning until they have a practical application. I let my daughter begin to take charge of the calendar — marking down birthdays, holidays, co-op schedules, and field trips. She learned much more quickly this way and had a firmer grasp on the days than when she was filling out dates mechanically.

Gardening– There are many ways math can be practiced while enjoying gardening. Allow your child to draw out the garden on graph paper, budget for and buy seeds, mark the calendar for fertilizing, and harvest.  Your child can measure out the garden, dig down the correct depth, and measure the distance between each plant or crop.

Lemonade Stand– Or Girl Scout Cookie table, yard sale, bracelet making, dog walking, or other creative projects. Let little entrepreneurs figure out a way to earn money, how to add and subtract income and expenses, making change for customers, saving, and spending. This is a great life skill!

How do you work math practice into real life?

 

Check out more homeschool math ideas from the iHomeschool Network here:

massive guide to homeschooling math
My friends in the Homeschool Blogging Network as well:
Sara (149 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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Learn with Math Games

 

How do you study math in your homeschool? Do your kids enjoy worksheets or flash cards? Do you take a living books approach a la the Charlotte Mason method? What works for your kids? Regardless of whether math sends them into tears or cheers, most kids will enjoy playing math games. Take some of the dread out of math time with these ideas!

A round-up of free & frugal math games to make learning fun! hsbapost.com

Learn with Math Games

Here’s a list of math games, including board games, printable games, and DIY games.

Multiplication Practice Paperfolding by Kids Activities Blog – By simply folding some paper into cootie catchers, you can actually create an informative math game for students focusing on anything from addition to fractions.

Math Wall Stickers (Reusable!) – Play with math on the walls! This set of reusable wall decals are a great way to turn math into an interactive experience. Play Simon Says with math on the wall! “Simon says show one half.” Love it!!

3D Lego Multiplication Graph via Frugal Fun for Boys – We love Lego, but did you know because of their shape they are great tools for multiplication? This graph will help kids visualize multiplication in three dimensions.

lego-multiplication-1

 

Numbers & Counting Quiet Cubes Game – This game designed for ages 4-7 uses dice rolls to help teach ABCs, counting and basic addition. The best part is the foam dice are designed to be super duper quiet for a truly peaceful learning experience!

Math Explosion Volcano Game – With this fascinating game, players are able to customize math facts with a math fact creator so that players of all ages can play for many years to come. Be the first player to explode the volcano by getting your math facts correct!

volcano math game

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Connect Four Bingo GameEveryone loves Bingo, and when you can take a game that’s already fun and turn it into something educational everyone wins. Children will be paying close attention so they can be the first to exclaim BINGO!

Aliens on Vacation multiplication game by Deceptively Educational – This printable board game requires a little setup, but it provides children with a chance to put their math skills to the test to get their alien home from vacation.

Factors and Multiples Games – Play Monster Mash! A game that helps students understand greatest common factors and lowest common multiples.

factors and multiples game

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Crazy Daisy Multiplication via Deceptively Educational- Looking for something a little more cute? The Crazy Daisy Multiplication printable math game will help kids visualize solutions as they color in a crazy daisy.

Whack It! Place Value Math GameIt’s no secret that kids love any game where they can get a little bit physical and give things a good whack, so why not teach math at the same time? This game helps with place values, but can be adjusted for other lessons.

 

What math games do you use in your homeschool?

 

 

Check out more homeschool math ideas from the iHomeschool Network:

guide to homeschooling math

 

Linking up with my homeschool blogging friends:

Printable Spring Play Dough Mats – Living Life and Learning

Free Printable Spelling Games – Simple At Home

Multiplication Dice Game Schooling a Monkey

Creative Ways to Play Scrabble -Classes By Beth Plus

Great Board Games for Homeschool | Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading

Free File Folder Games  – Amy’s Wandering

More of Our Favorite Games for Learning – Chestnut Grove Academy

Making Learning Fun-7 Great Games– A Sip of Southern Sunshine

 

Games for your Homeschool

 

Sara (149 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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