Last year I spent a few months doing the weekly “Blogging through the Alphabet” challenge at Ben and Me. I didn’t quite make it through all the letters, but it was a lot of fun. I wasn’t quite ready to start all over again right away…but now that I have sat out the last 26 weeks, I am ready to start again with Round 3 of Blogging Through the Alphabet!
My “A” is for “Apples”…but not just any kind of apples. A great math book called Life of Fred: Apples.
Life of Fred is a unique series of math textbooks. While previous books in the Life of Fred series were for late elementary school or middle school and up, the Life of Fred elementary series (beginning with Apples, of course) starts out at a level even most Kindergarteners can understand.
Life of Fred is a very unique series of math books — they tell a story! Each book tells a little more of the story of Fred, a very unusual college math professor who happens to only be five years old. Basic math concepts are interwoven throughout the humorous story about Fred’s day.
In Life of Fred: Apples, readers learn about addition facts that equal seven, calendar and time concepts and some basic instruction about sets, among other things. At the end of each chapter a short “Your Turn to Play” section gives readers a chance to practice the topic in the chapter with just a few (generally about 3 to 5) questions.
As I mentioned, many of the concepts in Apples are fairly simple. Even Mr. E is “beyond” several of these concepts in his regular math book. But since Life of Fred is a series of story books, it makes sense to begin at the beginning. All three older kids (Miss M–8, Mr. E–almost 6, and Mr. K–4), really enjoyed listening to Apples, and were eager to begin the second book, Butterflies, right away after we finished it.
Is Life of Fred a replacement for a regular math curriculum? At the elementary level it is a bit hard to imagine that this would suffice as enough explanation and practice for most students. A motivated parent might be able to fill in the gaps and provide other means of practice to go along with Fred. Or they might make a nice “break” for a student who is struggling or burned out on their regular curriculum.
At our house, we are considering Fred to be “math dessert.” We still do our regular math programs every day (or almost every day, anyway!). Then Life of Fred is a “treat” to read a couple times per week. Each chapter only takes a few minutes to read, so we often read after or during lunch or snack. We could easily go through the books at a faster pace since the kids like them so much. But at $16 each, I don’t want to buy too many this year. 🙂 We’ll stretch them out, and enjoy Fred slowly over the next couple years (and perhaps over, and over again after that as the kids re-read them!)
To see what other bloggers are writing about for the letter ‘A”, visit this week’s link-up at Ben and Me!