Your question: Why choose Life of Fred?


There are six things that distinguish the Life of Fred series from other homeschooling math curricula:

1.  Life of Fred is fun.
2.  Life of Fred explains the need for math.
3.  Life of Fred is inexpensive.
4.  Life of Fred provides a broader education.
5.  Life of Fred is clear.
6.  Life of Fred is complete.

Let’s look at each of these six points.

      First, it’s fun

 

       When is the last time you wrote to an author of a math book saying how much you liked it?  On this web site is our Raves from Readers.  Click here to go to that spot.

      Second, the Life of Fred explains the need for every piece of math. 

     Every math teacher gets the same question: “When are we ever gonna use this stuff?”  Fred answers that question.  He is born in one of the books and grows up through the books to the ripe old age of six.  In his everyday life he first encounters the need for some piece of math, and then we do.  Every part of math--from factoring in beginning algebra up through hyperbolic cosines in fourth semester calculus--every piece of math is needed. 

      Third, Fred is inexpensive

      I went to Amazon.com and typed in the search box “beginning algebra.” 

The first hardback book listed was $107.73. 
The second was $120.76. 

The third was $121.20. 
Then $107.73, $130.67, $138.47, $108.60, $123.12, $108.97, $123.12, $130.67. . . .  Yikes! 

         Where does Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra Expanded Edition fit in?  $39 and I pay all the postage. 
And the books are Smyth-sewn hardbacks—not workbooks—printed on acid-free paper that can be used by all the kids and grandkids. 

      Fourth, Life of Fred provides a broader education.  In the government schools, the math teachers must teach only mathematics in their classrooms. This is an unnatural way to instruct children.
      There is a tangible inner coherence among all the areas of knowledge.
       In the Life of Fred series, Dr. Schmidt teaches as a parent might teach his/her children. Educators have talked for years about the importance of cross-discipline teaching, but how often do you learn about history in a math class?
       In Life of Fred: Advanced Algebra Expanded Edition, you read about Christina Rossetti and Joan of Arc.
       In Life of Fred: Geometry Expanded Edition, we discuss sterochemistry, homochirality and what Melville meant when he wrote in the first lines of Moby Dick, “. . . whenever the hypos get such an upper hand of me.”


       Fifth, the Life of Fred books are clear.  They don’t require a teacher or a tutor or a classroom setting.  They are self-teaching.  In fact, I encourage parents not to help, tutor, or teach!  Why?  After your kids graduate from the university, almost everything of importance that they learn for the next forty years will be by reading—not from hearing lectures or playing with manipulatives.       

       Learning to learn-by-reading is one of the most important parts of a child’s education.  When they are in kindergarten, virtually everything they learn is from the teacher’s talking.  As they go through the grades and up into graduate school, reading becomes the increasingly dominant mode of learning.  I want to point them toward adulthood. 

      That’s why I don’t toss in DVDs, teacher’s manuals, manipulatives, and other junk.  (Creating videos for this series would be a snap.  For five years in the 1990s, I produced, edited, wrote, and acted in a weekly television series with the theme of what it means to be well-educated.  I don’t make videos, because it would be a disservice to the children.)

       Sixth, because Life of Fred is so much fun, some readers might wonder if it is lightweight.  The opposite is true.  The Life of Fred is truly complete.


     
       I taught for years at the high school and the college level.  Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra Expanded Edition, for example, has more math in it than is normally taught at the college level. 

      Compare Life of Fred: Geometry Expanded Edition with Jacob’s Geometry.  He has about a dozen ruler-and-compass constructions.  Fred has 46.

      Compare Life of Fred: Advanced Algebra Expanded Edition with Saxon’s Algebra 2.  Saxon leaves out (and Fred includes) (1) permutations; (2) matrices; (3) linear programming; (4) series; (5) sigma notation; (6) sequences; (7) combinations ; (8) Pascal’s triangle; (9) math induction; (10) partial fractions, which are needed in calculus; (11) graphing in three dimensions; and (12) change-of-base rule for logarithms. 

     Life of Fred: fun, motivating, cheap, clear, and complete. 

 

 

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