Three Ways That Life of Fred Is Different . . .


First Way:

     Most math curricula seem to use the same approach.  They show you how to do something (such as how to factor 6xy + 8xz), and then they give you 30 problems to pound it into your head.

     In the industry, this is called drill-and-kill. 

     The student is rarely told why this procedure is supposed to be learned.  There is no motivation supplied.  Little kids often salute and obey.  They think this is just the way things are.  Often, by the time students approach puberty, they start to ask, "When will I ever use this stuff?"

    The Life of Fred series takes the opposite approach.  First of all, everything first happens in Fred's everyday life.  He needs the math, and then we do it.  Every piece of math is motivated by a need.  Even when we get to hyperbolic trig functions in fourth semester calculus, Fred will encounter three times in which he needs hyperbolic trig functions before we even mention sinh(x).

    Because Fred is fun and because we provide reasons to learn each of the things in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trig, calculus, statistics, and linear algebra, we don't have to beat the student over the head with a million problems.  Don't expect pages and pages of problems.  You have been warned.

Look at it this way:

Question #1: How many times do you have to ask your kid to clean up his/her room? 
Answer #1: A million times.

Question #2: How many times do you have to tell your child, "We're going out for pizza tonight and a movie afterwards"?
Answer #2: Once.

Second Way:

     If you have read the Raves from Readers and the More Raves
from Readers
, you will often notice the transformation that occurs from "Math is my child's worst subject" to "I have trouble stopping my kid from reading Fred."

     Their attitude toward math is radically changed.

     There is a real chance that when your child heads off to the university, he or she may elect to become a mathematician rather than a ballerina or a real estate salesman.   You have been warned.

Third Way:

      These books chronicle the life of Fred.  They include happy moments, such as when Fred breaks into song, and they include sad moments, such as when Fred finds out that he can't keep 30 dogs in his office and has to return them to the animal shelter. 

     They include scary moments, such as when Fred is out jogging and encounters a giant, long-tailed, big-toothed, two-horned

monster.  Only when he passes it do we find that it's just a big green party balloon. 










     Fred loses every cent in his bank account when he foolishly tells a stranger his Personal Identification Number (PIN). 

     What this boils down to is . . .

parental guidance suggested

     If your little one still believes in monsters, the Easter Bunny who lays chocolate eggs, or the promises of politicians, you may want to read the lesson before your child does.  It is perfectly okay to skip a lesson.

Why Do We Have Sad/Scary Parts in Life of Fred?

1.  The Life of Fred offers a much fuller, well-rounded education than the math books that just drill math facts.  I teach children, not just math.  There is an essential inner coherence to all of life. 
      It is essential that kids learn that they shouldn't trust strangers with their financial information.  Bad things happen if you do.
     It is essential that kids learn that giant, long-tailed, big-toothed, two-horned monsters are really a bunch of hot air.
     It is essential that kids learn that those who allow their pets to reproduce indiscriminantly do a great disservice to them.  In Life of Fred: Dogs we mention the word euthanasia.  We do not go into any detail of how that's done.  No animals suffer or are killed in any of the Life of Fred books.  All three of the heroes—Fred, Alexander, and Betty—seek to rescue dogs from the animal shelter. 

     Life of Fred: Dogs is much more restrained and muted that the Disney classic Bambi.  Recall that Bambi's mother is shot.  One reviewer of Bambi wrote: We are a Disney family. We have been to Disneyland 6 times in the last 4 times and we are a thousand miles away ! My 8 year old son cried hysterically when Bambi's mother died. But, so did I. Life of Fred: Dogs now has a happy ending.  No animals are harmed in any way.

2.  Story books filled with little happy kids just playing in the sunshine is totally appropriate for four-year-olds.  They need plenty of assurance that God is in Heaven and everything is right in the world.


     Four-year-olds will often willingly eat bowls of honey if you let them. 

       The Life of Fred is going to offer you opportunities to discuss with your eight-year-old important topics on the way toward growing up.  Your child may ask you, "Why did someone steal Fred's money?"  Would you rather you answer that question or have some neighborhood kid answer it? 

     Sad/scary things happen in the Life of Fred to make those discussions—that growing up—more likely. 

     You decide when you want your child to graduate from bowls of honey toward growing up.