# Life of Fred for Algebra..

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Has anyone used the Life of Fred series for Algebra? If so what are your opinions of the program?

Thanks,

Gloria

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He is in 8th grade, and went from Singapore 6 into LoF. He had also done the LoF Fractions and Decimals/Percents books. The pre-algebra books had not come out yet.

I am having to be much more involved than I ever have with math for him. He pretty much taught himself Singapore 1-5, and I helped him with some topics in 6. He sailed through LoF Fractions, and Decimals/percents.

I think there are a number of factors going on with my ds and LoF Algebra that make it harder for him. One, he is entering puberty, so his hormones are wacky, which is making his brain not as functional as normal. (trying to put it nicely) Second, algebra is just harder. The topics he has needed help with so far are D=rt problems (they are really hard in LoF, IMO), factoring polynomials, and solving rational equations. Three, there are not solutions for all the problems. That makes it way more difficult for he or I to figure out where he is going wrong. Last, many of the problems are just plain hard.

He wants to continue with LoF for Algebra II; I'm undecided. I'm thinking there are not enough problems to "cement" the steps for him, and I am frustrated at not having complete solutions to every problem. OTOH, it seems like by the time he has worked all the problems in the chapter in both the text and the home companion, and done the first 2-4 cities, he's got it (and I've ususally got it by then, too ;)). He can usually do the last two cities without any help from me.

FWIW, I am not using this with my next child, dd 13. Even though she also does Singapore math, she is just in level 5 and in 7th grade. She didn't even make it through the LoF Fractions book--she was frustrated and confused. I'm going to have her do Lial's Basic College Math for 8th, and if we like that, Lial's Introductory Algebra for 9th. My younger two dc...we'll see when they get there.

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My ds used LOF Algebra in 7th grade after completing Singapore. We used it as a supplement to Teaching Textbooks Alg. instead of a stand alone. My son said it showed him a different way of looking at problems but he said he learned more through TT.

We did the same last year with TT alg II and used LOF adv alg as supplement. My son told me recently he did not want the LOF geometry book, which surprised me.

Not sure that helps you any, but thought you may benefit from our experience.

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My dd uses it, finished Algebra I last year and started Algebra II.

We started out with TT and about 1/4 of the way through she had a meltdown, it wasn't working. So we switched to Saxon and that was disaster. We then tried LoF and it was like magic for us. We use it as a stand alone program and for the first time she actually "gets" it.

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As with all programs, it depends on your dc. If he is math-intuitive, enjoys thinking "outside the box", etc., LoF should work quite well and be enjoyable.

My ds loved LoF Fractions and Decimals & Percents, but as a supplement. It gave him a new way of looking at the concepts and has challenging and mind-stretching word problems.

However, when we used LoF Algebra as our primary text, it didn't work. The instruction was not explicit enough, not broken down step-by-step for his needs. I'm sure it would have been great as a supplement. He just needs the hand-holding of a traditional program to grasp the basics, and then use LoF to learn to apply it and stretch his understanding.

So, I vote for using LoF, but as a supplement, unless your kids just "gets" math.

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Calvin got about half way through - at that point he started to get bogged down. He needed much more straighforward learning, with small much-practised steps leading to a clear whole. He wanted very much for it to succeed - he loved the format - but it wasn't for him. He's bright, but maths isn't his best subject.

Laura

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My dd uses it, finished Algebra I last year and started Algebra II.

We started out with TT and about 1/4 of the way through she had a meltdown, it wasn't working. So we switched to Saxon and that was disaster. We then tried LoF and it was like magic for us. We use it as a stand alone program and for the first time she actually "gets" it.

This was our experience. Math was not going well until we switched to LoF. We are using it as a stand-alone program. My oldest has finished beginning algebra, and will be doing the geometry book this year.

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Another Saxon disaster here. One in Algebra and one right in pre-Algebra. Oldest went on to LOF algebra and did fine. She also went through LOF geometry last year and did fine. Middle went through Decimals last year and will do percents and then start on beg algebra this year. Decimals was easy for her. We'll see how the rest goes this year.

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Here's my review:

Life of Fred website is http://www.stanleyschmidt.com/FredGauss/index2.html. We used LoF Algebra in 7th grade. We have the student book and the home companion.

Pros:

• humorous

• can be used independently

• good variety of problems

• good depth of problems (ie. challenging)

• Stan Schmidt is helpful if problems arise

Cons:

• Verbose (ds is more of a just-the-facts-ma’am kind of guy)

• many answers immediately follow the problems (tempting ds to look too soon)

• sometimes he teaches in the answers to problems (ds doesn’t take the time to read it)

• student may need additional practice

I thought LoF was humorous, rigorous, and challenging. However, it did not fit my ds’s learning style well. Or perhaps he was a bit too immature for it (raging hormones the same year). FWIW, I have a degree in math, and generally math comes easily to ds.

Edited by Sue in St Pete
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As with all programs, it depends on your dc. If he is math-intuitive, enjoys thinking "outside the box", etc., LoF should work quite well and be enjoyable.

My ds loved LoF Fractions and Decimals & Percents, but as a supplement. It gave him a new way of looking at the concepts and has challenging and mind-stretching word problems.

However, when we used LoF Algebra as our primary text, it didn't work. The instruction was not explicit enough, not broken down step-by-step for his needs. I'm sure it would have been great as a supplement. He just needs the hand-holding of a traditional program to grasp the basics, and then use LoF to learn to apply it and stretch his understanding.

So, I vote for using LoF, but as a supplement, unless your kids just "gets" math.

:iagree:

This was our experience exactly. I love it as a supplement, to approach the concepts in a different way, but there was not enough of either explanation or practice for my dd. Also, the "story" format made it difficult for me to help her when she needed clarification, because I hadn't been following the story!

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We got bogged down in the algebra book the first time we tried it, but the kids really enjoyed it. My new plan is to use the LOF book as a review the year after they do their main curriculum (BJU for now). So DD1 will be doing LOF Geom. while she is doing BJU Alg. 2 to review geometry, and DD2 will do LOF Alg. while doing BJU Geometry. My son is currently working through the pre-algebra book, and really enjoys it, so I think I'll do the same with him.

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• 2 weeks later...

Savermom, did your ds give any reasons why he did not want to continue with LofF Geometry?

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