Does Anybody Use Life of Fred All By Itself?
#1
Posted 29 January 2011  04:40 PM
If so, do you think it's enough?
If not, why not?
Thanks!
#2
Posted 29 January 2011  10:18 PM
#3
Posted 29 January 2011  11:12 PM
I read through many threads on here before choosing LoF. I still think it could stand on its own with the right student. But Lial's seems to go much deeper, and there have been several concepts in Lial's that aren't covered at all in LoF.
Just my noncommittal $.02. Math has never been an easy subject for dd.
#4
Posted 29 January 2011  11:14 PM
#5
Posted 29 January 2011  11:29 PM
It seems fine for us, although I've seen enough other reviews saying that it's NOT a good standalone program that I admit to being a little nervous. Time will tell, and I"ll be happy to come back to report if it was a good idea or not.
My son has done Fred beginning algebra, and is now working through the geometry. My 7th grader is now doing the beginning algebra.
#6
Posted 30 January 2011  01:28 AM
For Geometry we went straight to LOF and haven't had to supplement it at all. I am planning to use just LOF from here on in as long as it is working. If we hit a snag I am happy to find something to supplement with. It really does depend on the child. Mine gets extremely frustrated with the amount of review in other programs, so LOF is perfect for him. Others find that LOF alone is not enough practice.
I think you need to be flexible with any program you use. The goal is to teach the child not teach the program. They will all vary in what they need at different times. But in answer to the original question, yes, (for now) we use Life of Fred all by itself  and it is working fine.
#7
Posted 30 January 2011  01:35 AM
Lial's seems to go much deeper, and there have been several concepts in Lial's that aren't covered at all in LoF.
I am curious to hear more about this. What did you feel was missing from LoF and which Lial's book did you use? (I saw three different ones on Amazon but they didn't all have the "look inside" feature)
#8
Posted 30 January 2011  03:58 AM
My only real issue with LOF is that they don't have a handy list of formulas that you might need further into the text. I'll probably have ds make some flashcards to overcome that.
Because my son is on the younger side, we plan to take a year and do the AoPS number theory and probability books. Unless he expresses a desire to continue with AoPS we will go back to LOF to finish the high school sequence.
I have a number of math books available should he need further review. We review his math each day so I'm able to catch an issue before it has gone too far.
My personal philosophy is that I'd rather give my son a nontraditional text written by one or two experts with a real passion for the subject instead of a text written by committee. This holds true for most of our subjects.
#9
Posted 30 January 2011  09:15 AM
I think you need to be flexible with any program you use. The goal is to teach the child not teach the program. They will all vary in what they need at different times.
This should be framed and put on the wall, surrounded by blinking lights
#10
Posted 30 January 2011  09:56 AM
I really, really like Life of Fred based on the samples I see, and I could see it breathing fresh life into our math. The younger 3 kids are using Horizons, which is working well overall, and the oldest 2 are struggling their way through Jacobs' Algebra after having used Horizons all the way through. I think one mistake was having them go straight from Horizons 6 to Jacobs' Algebra. Perhaps a year of prealgebra in between would have made Jacobs a lot easier.
I find myself pondering the possibility of somehow combining Life of Fred with Teaching Textbooks, but I can't think of a way that they could really be done concurrently. Overall though, I'd much rather use 1 math program instead of multiple programs for 1 child. I'm willing to use a different program for a different child if it is what that child needs, but I must say that explaining the concepts in Horizons is a lot easier now that I'm using it with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th children than it was with the 1st. I just know what has worked in the past and how to adjust the explanation for this child almost instinctively. So, while flexibility is good, I guess I think it needs to be balanced with stability. I have come to believe that the material being used needs to be a good fit for the child and, to a lesser degree as they become more independent, for the parent as well. Make sense?
Anyway, I'd love to hear about more people's experience with Life of Fred as well as whether anyone has found a good way to combine it with Teaching Textbooks. They seem like polar opposites in some ways, I guess, but based on no real experience with either one other than scouring their respective websites and reading a lot of posts on this forum, it seems as though they might make up for each others' weaknesses. ???
Edited by Cabertmom, 30 January 2011  09:59 AM.
I noticed a misplaced apostrophe.
#11
Posted 30 January 2011  01:09 PM
HTH!
#12
Posted 30 January 2011  01:37 PM
My ds17 did only LOF Beginning, then LOF Advanced Algebras, and learned plenty! I felt it was enough! He then ended up in a Christian School in 10th, where he did Geometry, then he chose to go ahead and follow the program and do Algebra 2 this year. He said he's glad he redid it, cuz it camr from a different perspective and solidified what he knew. He said he really didn't learn anything new though.
#13
Posted 30 January 2011  04:29 PM
My only real issue with LOF is that they don't have a handy list of formulas that you might need further into the text. I'll probably have ds make some flashcards to overcome that.
In the back there is a section called A.R.T. (All Reoganized Together) that lists formulas and such
#14
Posted 30 January 2011  07:28 PM
I am curious to hear more about this. What did you feel was missing from LoF and which Lial's book did you use? (I saw three different ones on Amazon but they didn't all have the "look inside" feature)
Based on Jann in TX's recommendation, we are using Lial's Introductory Algebra 8th ed.
I was going to say that my most recent example was that LoF didn't cover dividing a polynomial by a polynomial. I'd looked for it several times last week, without success, but I found it just now. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to devote to put the two books side by side and compare. I've noticed the differences when I've grabbed LoF to refresh my memory as I work with dd in Lial's.
I still think LoF could be a stand alone; it just wasn't a good fit for my dd.
#15
Posted 30 January 2011  08:32 PM
In the back there is a section called A.R.T. (All Reoganized Together) that lists formulas and such
I hereby retract my issue with LOF. That will teach me not to look through the entire book! I'm bookmarking it now, THANK YOU:smilielol5:
#16
Posted 31 January 2011  07:08 AM
For my 11yearold, he's going to finish Horizons 5 (yes, he's a year behind on Horizons, but since Horizons is about a year ahead, I'm not concerned) and then switch to LOF Fractions. He actually wants to hurry up and finish so he can start LOF, and I think he is quite capable of doing that without losing anything in the process.
For my 8yearold, I think I'll keep her with Horizons until whatever year they get through long division. Does anyone recall when that is? Seems to me they actually finish it up in the first part of grade 5, but I'm not sure. Of course, once Dr. Schmidt publishes his elementary curriculum, that decision may change.
Looking at the samples, it appears to me that the few little questions may appear easy on the surface, but there's just no way to get them right unless the student truly understood the concepts. Do those of you who use LOF agree?
We are all excited about Life of Fred, but if somehow it doesn't agree with them, I think I'll consider TT as a backup for high school and just return to Horizons for grade school. I would just get TT if and when it is needed. Hopefully, LOF will truly be enough for our family.
FYI, if anyone has questions about placement in LOF, send me an email, and I'll send you what Dr. Schmidt sent me.
Can anyone compare what Jacobs Algebra covers and what LOF Algebra I covers? It may be that some of the topics are named differently, but based on what I saw, each one had some material that the other did not. I would really like to know if Jacobs Elementary Algebra is sufficient preparation for LOF Advanced Algebra or if we should consider getting LOF Beginning Algebra for a review after they are done. I fear that could take away some of the newfound enthusiasmto have to do Algebra I all over again after spending nearly two years doing it the first time. I really want to go with Geometry next year regardless, so we could potentially do a review with LOF Beginning Algebra after geometry and before starting Advanced Algebra. I would love to hear opinions for those who have BTDT.
Edited by Cabertmom, 31 January 2011  07:11 AM.
#17
Posted 01 February 2011  02:01 AM
Looking at the samples, it appears to me that the few little questions may appear easy on the surface, but there's just no way to get them right unless the student truly understood the concepts. Do those of you who use LOF agree?
Yes, I would definitely agree with this.
I have no experience with Jacobs, so can't help with that, but I just wanted to say that it looks like LOF Beginning Algebra covers most of what TT covers in Algebra 2 as well as Algebra 1. My son breezed through the TT placement test for precalc after doing LOF Beginning Algebra and Geometry.
#18
Posted 03 February 2011  06:54 PM
#19
Posted 04 February 2011  03:20 AM
From the reviewer:
"There are two questions that still nag at me.
 Will students read this text any more than they would a typical calculus text?
 Is this an appropriate text for an AP Calculus course?
My answer to the second question is even less certain than the first. I believe this text could be used in an AP Calculus course, but that an instructor for the course would need to provide much supplemental material. It is clear that the text is not aimed for an AP course. Not only would there be a need to supplement content, but also problems. There are types of problems on the AP exam that one just doesn't encounter in this text.
Finally, I must point out that one can only really know a calculus text by having used it. I haven't had that experience with this text, but would be tempted to try it under certain circumstances. "
Here's the whole page.
Joan
#20
Posted 04 February 2011  11:57 AM
I recently researched this in relation to the AP Calculus exam preparation and here was part of the answer about using Life of Fred Calculus.
Joan
Thanks for the link!
#21
Posted 09 February 2011  01:49 PM
I can barely get my ds 13 to do anything else. He's enjoying it immensely and did 4 lessons the first day. I hope it continues thusly. Unfortunately, it seems that there is just no way to do anything other than start at the beginning, which might mean lots of time "lost" in one sense.
My dd 15 is not quite so enthusiastic. I think her problem so far is just learning to think outside the box and realize that just because her answer doesn't match his exactly (I rather doubt that it will very often), that's okay. He uses the answers for teaching as well. For example, in one problem, her answer was 20. So was his, but he also included a number line along with it, so she was concerned that she may not have gotten it right because she didn't have the number line as part of her answer. Sigh.
You know, I care very little about grades and really don't assign numerical grades for much at all until high school, so it really bugs me that this daughter of mine seems more concerned about grades than about actually learning. How did this happen???!!
#22
Posted 08 March 2011  03:04 PM
So we don't know what to do! Do we, who are doing geomtry, go back to Algebra I and review, then start over next year. Do I let her continue, but not "master" it. Do I find a tutor? (Although, I don't know why that would matter since her dad is great at this stuff.) I can hardly stand the fact of losing a whole year of math.
HELP!!!
#23
Posted 08 March 2011  06:47 PM
I agree with many of you that Life of Fred can stand alone. But, that being said, I am truly struggling withe geometry. AND, I just received a call from another mom struggling with LOF Algebras I & II. We both feel as if our kids aren't learning the info. My daughter love the LOF set up, much better than TT. She just doesn't seem to be getting the concepts. Her dad has spent many hours trying to help her. The friend working with LOF algebra realize that her son was using the answers too much as a crutch. Now, here they are this far into the year, and he doesn't seem to know the stuff. All the kids being referred to are smart kids, working above their average grade. On a side note, I loved math, but HATED geomtry, and faked my way through it  with an "A."
So we don't know what to do! Do we, who are doing geomtry, go back to Algebra I and review, then start over next year. Do I let her continue, but not "master" it. Do I find a tutor? (Although, I don't know why that would matter since her dad is great at this stuff.) I can hardly stand the fact of losing a whole year of math.
HELP!!!
Everyone is different! My eldest got the concepts, etc, with no trouble from LOF. You may wish to add something else if that will help.
#24
Posted 08 March 2011  11:14 PM
I can definitely see how not working through the problems wholeheartedly before looking at the answers could be a big problem for some kids.
You mentioned going back to algebra I for a child struggling in LOF geometry, but they are so different. Do you feel like your child got algebra? If so, I'm wondering if supplementing with something very straightforward might help. I wish I could help. We'll be using LOF Geometry next year.
I can't tell you how great it is to have kids who actually look forward to doing math rather than dreading it. My 6th grader is finishing LOF Fractions and was doing it on Saturday because he wanted to.
Let us know what you come up with.
#25
Posted 20 May 2011  03:15 PM
#26
Posted 20 May 2011  03:29 PM
Actually, when it comes to Algebra 1, TT does go more slowly; it takes several high school TT courses before a student has covered all of the same material as in most other Algebra programs; we own about 56 different Algebra 1 books including TT Algebra .thank you for posting. i'm looking into lof and was wondering about the content being enough on its own. we use TT which many people consider "behind" grade level, but after using it i don't agree. there are many who think LoF needs to be supplemented??? so this thread has been helpful, thanks!
#27
Posted 20 May 2011  07:10 PM
Patty
#28
Posted 22 May 2011  09:47 AM
I agree with many of you that Life of Fred can stand alone. But, that being said, I am truly struggling withe geometry. AND, I just received a call from another mom struggling with LOF Algebras I & II. We both feel as if our kids aren't learning the info. My daughter love the LOF set up, much better than TT. She just doesn't seem to be getting the concepts. Her dad has spent many hours trying to help her. The friend working with LOF algebra realize that her son was using the answers too much as a crutch. Now, here they are this far into the year, and he doesn't seem to know the stuff. All the kids being referred to are smart kids, working above their average grade. On a side note, I loved math, but HATED geomtry, and faked my way through it  with an "A."
So we don't know what to do! Do we, who are doing geomtry, go back to Algebra I and review, then start over next year. Do I let her continue, but not "master" it. Do I find a tutor? (Although, I don't know why that would matter since her dad is great at this stuff.) I can hardly stand the fact of losing a whole year of math.
HELP!!!
The part I bolded is what catches my eye. (no I don't have children this old yet, I was just searching about our possible future with LoF...BUT, I do have experience with a gifted child working above grade level and then having difficulties). May I humbly suggest that the difficulty is because they are working above grade level? Many kids by this age that are ahead in most all areas will start shining more in others as they become more "on level" or simply "less ahead" in others. Perhaps they are just in over their heads a bit with math now, as higher math requires a certain amount of brain maturity. I found this to be the case as my oldest began to plateau in certain areas...I felt she was having trouble, it was the program, not my child (of course ) She was just to her limit for the time being....and later that program worked like magic after taking a break and treading water for a while. Her love of the subject returned as her frustrations subsided....she was ready to move forward again and did so fabulously
#29
Posted 22 May 2011  01:42 PM
I asked him what he thinks about LoF right now: "I like it. I feel like I'm learning the material." I know he finds it challenging, and I know that he has never been someone that needed a lot of practice problems to get a concept, etc. in math. The even balks at the little bit of practice/review on Beginning Alg. topics that there is in Adv. Alg. I make him do it anyway.
I wish there was some sort of grand review/test at the end of each book. I suppose I could go through and pick problems from each city to do that, but it would be nice if it was there for me already.
My biggest complaint is that there are not worked solutions for every problem in the cities. There have been days where I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out a problem, and a booklet with every problem worked out would save me a lot of headache. Now, when we've gotten really stuck, and not been able to understand where we're going wrong, I've been able to email Mr. Schmidt, and he is very helpful and will set us on the right pathso there is a way to get the help we need. But email takes more time than a solutions manual would.
Whether it's enough or not remains to be seen. I worry that there's not enough review of previous topics, and not enough practice to really cement the topic. At some point before he takes the SAT in 11th or 12th, we'll probably do some type of review, or something, just to be sure.
And I'm just remembering that he did use selected topics from Key to Algebra to supplement Beg. Alg., so I guess he hasn't used LoF entirely alone.
#30
Posted 22 May 2011  01:51 PM
 labellavita likes this
#31
Posted 22 May 2011  03:44 PM
I wish there was some sort of grand review/test at the end of each book. I suppose I could go through and pick problems from each city to do that, but it would be nice if it was there for me already.
My biggest complaint is that there are not worked solutions for every problem in the cities. There have been days where I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out a problem, and a booklet with every problem worked out would save me a lot of headache. Now, when we've gotten really stuck, and not been able to understand where we're going wrong, I've been able to email Mr. Schmidt, and he is very helpful and will set us on the right pathso there is a way to get the help we need. But email takes more time than a solutions manual would.
Whether it's enough or not remains to be seen. I worry that there's not enough review of previous topics, and not enough practice to really cement the topic. At some point before he takes the SAT in 11th or 12th, we'll probably do some type of review, or something, just to be sure.
Are you using the study companion?
Yes, we use the LoF as a stand alone and are perfectly content that our kids are learning enough. It might not work for everyone but we love it here! We are very careful to follow the author's suggestions on using the program (especially the part about letting them struggle to find the answers without help, the butterfly analogy that he gives is beautiful and accurate!).
The only thing I do differently is, I remove the answers to the bridges from the earlier books and grade those myself. That way if they have just been copying the answers, it will become apparent because they will be unable to cross the bridge (there is no way to "fake" your way through LoF, which is a huge plus). This is great because it is teaching the kids not to cheat. They have to directly deal with the consequences for doing so. So they end up taking the time to work through problems even with the answers right at hand. My husband in particular finds this to be a brilliant life lesson strategy.
In the higher levels, I print out the pages (Q & AK) from the study guide (they can be saved in a 3 ring binder for use with future children). I hand them them question page. Once they have finished I go over it and check the answers to watch for any struggles. But once I have done that I hand them the answer page and allow them to ultimately grade their own work. This allows me to track their progress and yet they learn more since Schmidt teaches in his answers. On the cities, I grade the even answers on the second set (this counts as a practice test), and use the third set of cities as a final test for the chapter. The Home Study Companion is a must imo for the books that have one!
#32
Posted 02 June 2011  02:32 PM
#33
Posted 03 June 2011  05:44 AM
It must have been okay because he was prepared for and got an A in Calculus this year.
Blessings,
Debbie
PS: I will add that my husband had to help at some points. It wasn't something he could do entirely on his own. Not sure if LOF offers telephone support like some do, though.
#34
Posted 03 June 2011  06:55 AM
#35
Posted 05 June 2011  03:21 PM
#36
Posted 05 June 2011  03:48 PM
My dd's really enjoyed it up until Beginning Algebra. They got frustrated & confused with it even after going over the chapters multiple times. So we dropped it, tried TT & Saxon, both of which were better, but still dodn't work well for us. So we now are getting ready to begin Lial's Introductory Algebra this summer since we have heard many good things about it. Hopefully this will be the fit we need. Good luck...
Just out of curiosity, did your girls do the prealgebra set (Biology & Economics)?
#37
Posted 05 June 2011  05:07 PM
My ds11 used the Fractions, Percents, and both PreAlgebra books as stand alones. He's using AOPS for Algebra, but will read the Beginning Algebra simply because he loves LOF.
As a disclaimer, I do have to say that he is a mathy, actually a supermathy kid, and does not need repetition or drill.
My dd15 enjoyed the story line, and did learn from the books. However, she needed more explanations, repetition, and problems, so we switched to Chalkdust for her.
HTH!
#38
Posted 05 June 2011  10:25 PM
#39
Posted 05 June 2012  09:09 AM
Sandra
#40
Posted 05 June 2012  09:45 AM
I think Fred is tremendous for someone who is fairly good at making a few leaps here and there. I'll give you a run down on our experience so far:
16yearold daughter: She had gotten halfway through Jacob's Algebra when we decided to switch to Fred. It was a real struggle for her, but math is not at all her strong suite. She just finished it after a little more than a year with the help of her younger brother, who is very good at math. She really needs something that walks her through step by step, so we are going to switch to TT Geometry for next year and hope for better things.
15yearold son: He loves Fred! He went through beginning algebra, advanced algebra, and is now halfway through the geometry book. I actually have trouble getting him to put it down to do his other subjects, and he asks to do extra lessons whenever he can. There are times when he has to set it aside for a day or two (or call Grandma, who is a retired math professor thank God, because I am no help at all), but eventually whatever was causing the difficulty clicks, and he is on his way again.
12yearold son: He started with the fractions and decimals book last year and then went through the 2 prealgebra books. He too has enjoyed them immensely, but this is the child who tends to rush through things (so he can go build forts a la Andrew Pudewa). He seemed to get it at the time, but I was noticing some gaps in what he recalls, so given his age, I am having him do the tests for Math Mammoth grades 5 and 6 first and then do any chapter for which he doesn't get at least a 90%. The author of Math Mammoth thought this would a good way to do it. As soon as he's done with about 5 more chapters, he'll be heading onto Fred algebra. FYI, he had been using Horizon until Fred/Math Mammoth, and I feel as though that didn't lead to very deep understanding of what he was studying. It was more formulaic, whereas both MM and Fred require much more figuring out what needs to be done to get to an answer. I say this after having been a big fan of Horizons for many years.
10yearold daughter and 7yearold son: We used Apples and Butterflies for these two just as a supplement, but much as I love Fred, I don't really see how these would accomplish much on their own. They were fun to read, and I get how Dr. Schmidt is really trying to keep math light and fun until they are older (perhaps considering it unnecessary as far as book learning goes), but having been there and done that with our oldest daughter, I think having a good foundation is important, so they are now using Math Mammoth as the primary math text, and I don't plan to continue with the elementary series of Fred. My 10yearold will start on the Fred Fractions book as soon as she is ready for it and use that in conjunction with MM when she is ready for it.
Overall, I think Fred is fantastic. It combines challenging math with Far Sideesque humor that really appeals to all of us. However, I don't think I would recommend it to someone who struggles with mathat least not until some other means has been found to help with the struggles.
Hope this helps!
#41
Posted 06 June 2012  08:41 AM
That's a great idea for getting updates.
I think Fred is tremendous for someone who is fairly good at making a few leaps here and there. I'll give you a run down on our experience so far:
!
Thank you so much! It was so beneficial to hear how this has worked out for each of your children. It's amazing how different children can be as far as their retention, style of learning and preferences. You taking the time to be so detailed is truly a blessing!
Sandra
#42
Posted 06 June 2012  08:53 AM
I'm happy to help. It's the least I can do give all the tremendous help and wisdom I have garnered from this great forum over the last couple years.
Pax Christi,
Carla
#43
Posted 09 June 2012  02:01 PM
That's a great idea for getting updates.
I think Fred is tremendous for someone who is fairly good at making a few leaps here and there. I'll give you a run down on our experience so far:
Hope this helps!
Your entire post summed up what I think about LOF and how it worked for different kids in my family. I'm debating now as to whether or not I should buy LOF preAlgebra to combine with another book for my ds. He loves the story and does make leaps here & there, but he needs more practice at times. The earliest ones we own are Decimals & Fractions (then most of the high school texts; I'm buying LOF Calc for dd to read for fun this summer as she's doing AP Calc at the local high school next year because she likes to have a "real" teacher who isn't me (of course, she's opted to graduate from that school, so I can only do summer homeschooling with her.) She did LOF Geometry when she was still homeschooling & has read the Algebra books for fun.
#44
Posted 22 September 2012  05:17 PM
I decided to have him work on PreAlgebra 2 with Economics before moving on; that way, he could repeat the work without feeling like he was repeating the work.
The author intends that students do both books. You don't select only one.
Tara
#45
Posted 24 September 2012  12:42 PM
The author intends that students do both books. You don't select only one.
Tara
Right, but if you've been doing other math, you can look at the 2 & decide if you need both. We have both & are doing them along with Calvert Math 8 this year, but we don't have to do both given what ds did last year, etc. We're not trying to coordinate the two, but my kids really wanted to have all the books from Fraction & Decimals on up, and those finished our set. We're not buying the elementary books no matter how much they ask (so far they haven't) since we're well past that.
#46
Posted 24 September 2012  12:55 PM
Laura
#47
Posted 24 September 2012  07:35 PM
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