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Life of Fred - stand-alone text? or supplement?

life of fred

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#1 1bassoon

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 10:17 PM

Ah, yes, the math saga continues . . . . .

I would REALLY like to use Chalkdust, but the price - aye, there's the rub.

Dd12 is enjoying Life of Fred - he's doing review work, finished Fractions in about 5 weeks, is progressing well through Decimals/Percents - it's all stuff he's had in SM 6A-B. He has a wacky sense of humor, and just laughs his way through math reading the stories.

Am I nuts to consider doing the whole LoF series for high school math? Is it really enough? I would buy the extra Home Companion series to provide extra problem sets.

OR - is the best bet to do either Lial's with DVT or CD, and use LoF as a review/reinforcement/motivator?

I suppose another option would be to work through LoF next year (8th grade), and do a placement test in CD to see how he's done. . .. . .

(hoping JanninTX has seen this post and knows a smidge about LoF!)

#2 Livinginthelibrary

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 12:48 AM

I'm interested to see an answer for this because we are doing Teaching Textbooks PreAlgebra and had to redo fractions. Now Christy is going through the Life of Fred Fraction book.

#3 Miss Marple

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 09:21 AM

Heather, I don't know that I can really answer your question but we are using LOF Algebra 1 currently with my 12 yob. Like your son, he worked through the Singapore series. This particular son is very math adept and is doing great with LOF. In fact, he should finish it later this month and move on the LOF Advanced Algebra. My other son is doing Jacob's Algebra. The big difference I see in the programs is that LOF provides much shorter lessons and less practice than Jacob's. But, in my son's case, that doesn't appear to be a problem. It *would* be a problem for the son using Jacob's.

While it appears to me that LOF is covering all aspects of Algebra well, I will be testing him at the end of 8th to see where he is in his math. We always have the boys take the ACT at our local university at the end of 8th in order to plan the high school years. If at that time he doesn't do well on the math portion, I will probably have him move through a more traditional text (like Jacob's) quickly during the summer and finish while doing geometry in 9th.

So LOF is working well for us and I'm not too worried about him not covering all areas thoroughly because I have the advantage of having started early and can fill in the gaps before high school.

I'm glad LOF was available for this son. It has made my life easier because he is very competitive with his less math adept brother which meant I needed two separate algebra programs.

#4 Pamela H in Texas

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 09:34 AM

I'm not sure....

My daughter went through LoF series but she had had all of that before (except Calc). So I'm not sure she or I can really say. I would like to believe it's good enough for a stand alone program. And my daughter thinks that if a student went through the full program, they would be fine. But we didn't do it that way.

However, we don't do ANY program as a stand alone program. My kids have had multiple programs for EVERY level. We do 2 or 3 complete programs for upper math (well, now that I think of it, for lower math too).

#5 Lizzie in Ma

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 09:47 AM

I wrote that we are also doing the first two books this year and asked about next year for 8th. This is is reply. It confirmed my desire to stick with LOF as our full math curricula.

Dear Lizzie,

If she's under the age of 18, I would strongly suggest using the Fred's Home Companions along with the Life of Fred books for the two algebras. All of the answers plus other material is included in the Fred's Home Companions.

Since the books are intended to be self-teaching, all you have to say each day is four words, "Please do a lesson."

There are 108 lessons in beginning algebra and 101 in advanced algebra. And the Life of Fred series contains more mathematics than any other home schooling curriculum that I know of.
A lot of the other curricula do a tremendous amount of repetition---especially Saxon. Many parents have written to me saying that they tell their kids "Do just the odd problems" or something to that effect.
The government schools waste an inordinate amount of time in their teaching. When I taught at the high school level, I had to invent a kinds of time wasters so that I didn't finish the official textbook in April.

I'm currently writing book #12 in the series: Life of Fred: Linear Algebra. Linear algebra is a university-level math course, typically taught at the junior level to math majors.
After I button that one up in the late spring, I'm heading back to put a book or two between your daughter's LOF: Decimals and Percents and LOF: Beginning Algebra-----something to give the kid's some time to let their brains mature. I studied beginning algebra in the 9th grade. Trying to learn algebra before puberty is a tough proposition.
I don't want to rehash the fractions, decimals, and percents material, but stirring it into a new context would (1) cement it into their brains and (2) give their brains time to grow up. I'm thinking of something like Life of Fred: Physics After Arithmetic.

All the best to you,
Stan

#6 1bassoon

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 10:44 AM

Lizzie -

Thank you so, SO much for posting this! It does help. . . . . .

I guess, when it comes down to it - I'm chicken. (Insert chicken smilie here!) It just seems so - well - so inexpensive! And my son loves it! And it's so, well, there's just not a "lot" of stuff with it! Does that make sense? I guess I'm falling victim to the "if you pay more $$$$$$, it must be better" mentality.

I'd love, LOVE to have him stick with LoF. But I'm just afraid that I will do that, then in about 3 years, I'll realize he didn't have enough math, kwim? I'm already feeling like I missed the boat with dd16. I used to feel like I was an academically advanced, rigorous homeschooler. Now - well, I guess maybe I'm not as much as I think. My kids have tested occasionally - they almost always place 90 percentile - but I somehow missed the memo that advanced homeschoolers should be through calculus by 15 :001_huh:

Anyways, I'm rambling. I was an honors, summa cum laude student through h.s. and college. I don't have doubts that I can teach. I guess I'm just worried that I'm being lazy? not pushing enough? unless I use Chalkdust.

Ugh. This makes no sense. Sorry - but you have given me lots more to think about and for that I am grateful :)

BTW - my dh and I honeymooned in Eastham, MA! Sweet memories . . . we biked around Nantucket, too. . . . .

#7 Frontier Mom

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 10:47 AM

I have three using it as a stand alone text. I plan on doing some testing to concrete the concepts and spend the summer doing some reinforcing if necessary.

We struggled here and LOF is working great for us. I do use some other books I have for word problems and make it a fun contest for supper. I give the problem and everyone tries to work it out and brings their answer to supper. Then, we decide who is correct and explain.

#8 1bassoon

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 10:53 AM

However, we don't do ANY program as a stand alone program. My kids have had multiple programs for EVERY level. We do 2 or 3 complete programs for upper math (well, now that I think of it, for lower math too).


Pamela -

Hmm. Now, I've always used Singapore Math & Miquon together in the lower grades. . . .why didn't I think of that for upper grades??? Can you elaborate on how that works? Do they do them on the same day? Concurrently? Finish one, and then move on to another? I'd love to see how it works in "real life".

I also just realized one of my LoF issues - and it's a little embarassing.:001_unsure:

Ds is often, often finished with his lesson in, oh, 10 minutes or less. AND - I've only been telling him to do one lesson a day! WHOOPS! I told him that starting Monday, he has to work on LoF for 45 minutes - and see how far he gets, then stop. We'll see how that goes. . . .

#9 Pamela H in Texas

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 12:25 PM

Hmm. Now, I've always used Singapore Math & Miquon together in the lower grades. . . .why didn't I think of that for upper grades??? Can you elaborate on how that works? Do they do them on the same day? Concurrently? Finish one, and then move on to another? I'd love to see how it works in "real life".


We have done one then another for the upper grades....it was more combined for the lower grades.

#10 Valerie in MI

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 03:22 PM

We are tentatively planning to continue with LoF almost as a stand alone program through high school. DS13 did hit a section in Beginning Algebra recently (factoring) where he felt that doing all the problems in both Fred books still didn't give him enough practice to really get the concept. So he spent several days doing additional programs in an older textbook we happen to have before resuming LoF algebra.

#11 Karen in CO

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 05:05 PM

My ds hated math but made it unwillingly through thinkwell pre-calc in 11th grade at which time he declared ENOUGH. He didn't take anymore math in highschool then took the fall semester off instead of going to college so he could work and save some money and get that student visa. I bought him the LoF Beginning Alg and Advanced Alg to work through on his own since his college required a math placement exam, and he didn't want to be stuck in remedial math. He worked through the first Alg book and most of the second during the fall. In January, he tested into College Alg. and is currently very bored in class and making A's. He thinks that I should use LoF when his sisters get old enough for it.

I know that one example doesn't prove anything, but I was very skeptical that he was learning anything since he willingly worked through the book.

#12 Guest_Katia_*

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 07:47 PM

My ds hated math but made it unwillingly through thinkwell pre-calc in 11th grade at which time he declared ENOUGH. He didn't take anymore math in highschool then took the fall semester off instead of going to college so he could work and save some money and get that student visa. I bought him the LoF Beginning Alg and Advanced Alg to work through on his own since his college required a math placement exam, and he didn't want to be stuck in remedial math. He worked through the first Alg book and most of the second during the fall. In January, he tested into College Alg. and is currently very bored in class and making A's. He thinks that I should use LoF when his sisters get old enough for it.

I know that one example doesn't prove anything, but I was very skeptical that he was learning anything since he willingly worked through the book.



My dd did basically the same thing: she worked through LoF beginning algebra, the first part of adv. algebra and the first part of geometry (didn't have time to finish before she left for college) on her own because it was FUN. She just didn't 'get' math before and tested very poorly on ACT. However, after LoF she was able to easily Ace her required college math class and even found it simple. Others in the class did not find it so, and her math professor didn't expect her to do well at all because of her ACT math score.

She claims her college math success is due to Fred. Just our experience.

#13 dragons in the flower bed

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 07:53 PM

I'm thinking of something like Life of Fred: Physics After Arithmetic.

All the best to you,
Stan



Is he serious? Physics After Arithmetic would rock my kids' socks off!

#14 plimsoll

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 12:09 AM

We are using LoF as our main text. My son moved very quickly through the first two books and recently started Algebra. He loves it and is doing very well.

I have recently been giving him some review/added practice using Singapore's Extra Practice and Challenging Word Problems books (levels 5-6). This is because he moved so fast through the first two books that he needs a little extra practice to cement certain things into his brain. It is not a reflection on LoF, which I think is a great program.


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