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Life of Fred Users-Can Someone tell me about LoF


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My situation:

DD is 10 and finishing 4th grade with K12. I like and dislike K12 math, so I've added Singapore Math and Horizons Math to her daily math. Horizons works well for review, but Singapore is not a good fit, and I'm looking to replace this with Life of Fred.


My questions:

How long are the books? If we went back to the last three elementary books (Kidneys, Liver, and Mineshaft) then onto the next books (Fractions, Decimals, and Elementary Physics), is this over-the-top to consider doing in a year? DD does well with math, but it isn't favorite subject. She gets the concepts quickly, yet needs to practice the concepts to cement the ideas. Does LoF offer plenty of practice? If not, What do you use for practice.

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We've done all of the books from A - E; so, I don't know about the upper levels (K-M).


The books are short. There is a lot of content in them. My oldest reads them and does the work on her own. Sometimes she hits a block and takes a few days off because she doesn't quite "get it." Other times she reads the chapter and gets through 2 or 3 chapters in one day (practice questions are at the end of each chapter).


There is not much practice included within LoF. Again I'm speaking for the lower level books.


My daughter hated math and didn't get the concepts easily. With Fred she is able to get the concepts pretty well (sometimes she does get stuck like I mentioned), and can move quickly. We also use MM; so, we do not do Fred daily. We use our regular MM worktext for the practice of concepts in Fred. It doesn't always line up exactly, but eventually topics do get covered in each book.


You could also do games and such - but my oldest doesn't really like to play games for math time. LoF is our fun math. :)

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LOF works great for us with respect to concepts, but DD needs more practice, so we've started doing Saxon. We've used Fred to remediate/reinforce when other math had turned into misery, and we focus more on backing it up with extra practice when Fred starts getting ahead of what she's cemented.


It sounds like you picked a good point to pickup, but you don't really have to. i also wouldn't worry about whether you'll get to Physics. Fractions and decimal/Percents together make about a year of study, and if you're starting in Kidneys for a bit of review before going there, you'll have plenty of work in front of you.


My plan is to either continue using Saxon or to use Key To and Math Mammoth Blue series workbooks alongside Fred as needed.

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From Fractions and on upward, the books change in tone and difficulty, and become steadily longer, and they are geared to be read by the student rather than by the parent to the student. The elementary books are not really a guide to the difficulty of the later books.


What I write below sounds rather dogmatic, I realize, but I am writing what works for DS12; your mileage may vary, of course-- our kids are all different.


The upper books do contain more practice than the elementary series, and if the student really wants to mine them for information, notes can be taken (a first "fun" read can be done quickly, then maybe a second pass more slowly for the actual math). DS12 went through before the physics book came out, but yes, you can finish Fractions and Decimals and Percents in a year with time left over. In the Fractions book, if you do all of the bridges, there are over 700 problems, just in the fractions book. Granted, not every problem is a fractions problem, but fractions aren't rocket science, and the problems are very thoughtful in many places, and require understanding. We love Fred, because it provides a lot about the "why" of the math, not just the "how" or algorithms.


Further, remember that you don't "drop" fractions once you move into Decimals and Percents the next book. Many of the problems in D&P will still require fractions, so there will be more fraction problems there, as well, providing both review and reinforcement. Moving into the pre-Algebra books, again, you will continue to encounter fractions (and decimals and percents) and of course, once you move into Algebra (at which point you can acquire the home companion book, which provides additional problems, and if needed, the "Zillions of Problems" supplement as well) you will never move away from fractions.


Do make sure that multiplication and division are down pat before starting fractions. I have pointed out to my kids that multiplying polynomials uses the same steps as multiplying multi-digit numbers, and dividing polynomials uses the same steps as long division, and watched the lightbulb go on ("Oh . . . that's why you didn't just let us use the calculator . . ."). Finding factors of a polynomial uses similar skills to finding factors to reduce a fraction. Don't skim over any of these skills.


I have not seen the Intermediate series (Kidneys etc) as they are relatively new.


My older son has successfully used LoF through Algebra so far. One key for him is that I do not let him read it and just nod at it "yea yeah I got it." I kind of giggle when I hear people say, "My kid read the book in a week and got nothing from it!" I could make the same claim about AoPS and Dolciani-- I could read them in a week and get nothing from them-- and the fault there would not lie with the book, I promise you :). You will get out of it what you put into it :). Be sure to do the problems, and write them down (or do whatever passes for that with your kiddo). If your kiddo needs repetition, do all of the bridges instead of just one, and go back and review for certain if it isn't passed by 90%. Make sure she is not only writing down the "Your Turn to Play" but really, really reading and understanding the answers, and making the corrections, not just nodding at them-- a lot of the instruction continues in the answers to the YTTP sections.


Fred is not for everyone, but DS12 has really enjoyed it and is doing well in math with it.

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Both my older boys did Fractions and Decimals in about a year, with no issue along with their main math, MM. Elementary Physics wasn't out at the time, but they could have squeezed that in to, I suspect.

The College Prep Books are very different form the elementary series. They fell a lot less supplemental, and have a lot more problems to do. Because we also use MM, we has plenty of review.

Fractions- 192 pages

Decimals and Percents- 192 pages

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