Life of Fred Math Series

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  • Reviewed on Thursday, June 22, 2017
  • Grades Used: K-12
  • Dates used: 2014-2017
The Life of Fred books follow Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius, during his exciting and fun adventures, in which he encounters and solves every day math problems. Many of the books have quizzes. Some books have all the problem solutions in them, while others have separate answer keys or companions. The books were developed by a former high school teacher/college professor, Dr. Stanley F. Schmidt.

There are many reasons to like Fred:

**The Fred stories are clear, and easy to read.
**The books are fun (so your kids WANT to read them).
**The lessons are comprehensive. Fred teaches more than math. **The books cover English, science, and real world situations.
**Fred books use the self-teaching method – kids can progress at their own pace.
**If your student can’t complete a lesson on his/her own, your student can contact the author – yes, Dr. Stanley F. Schmidt will respond!
**Your child can start using these books when it’s time to learn how to read, and continue learning with Fred all the way to college. **Continuity is always a plus!
**The books are affordable. Prices vary from $5 to $40 per hardcover, illustrated book.

<b>Life of Fred Beginning Readers Series</b>

If your kids are just starting to read, we recommend adding these Life of Fred readers to your home library. They are fun to read together as a family, and your kids will enjoy them so much, you’ll probably read them over and over again. Plus, it’s easy to incorporate Fred into your early reading lessons. The complete set consists of 18 books – and each book contains 32 pages.

Who is it for? Beginning readers (ages 4 and up)

Concepts covered: counting, using a compass, patience, days of the week, colors, shapes, how to make mashed potatoes, how to build a house, and more

Titles in the set include: Blue, Bus, Lake, Potato Dreams, Ducks, Rain, Mud, Night, Dawn, House, Windows, Kitchen, Electricity, Dinner, Evening, Garden, Peach, and Going Home

“My son, 8 years old, can’t get enough of these books! I have to take them away at night. He loves them so much that I catch him sitting up in bed reading them over and over again!” Tricia -Homeschooler

<b>Life of Fred Elementary Math Series</b>

Life of Fred is a story that begins with book one, and continues all the way through high school. Each book contains short, 4 to 6-page chapters, and usually there are fewer than 20 chapters per book.

Who is it for? Kindergarten to 4th grade

Concepts covered: time, types of numbers, geometry, measurement, facts about stars, morse code, geography, adjectives & verbs, patterns, functions, sheet music, seven wonders of the world, math poems, percents, numbers vs. numerals, division, slope of a line, graphing, notation, the improper use of seat belts, how to prove you are not a duck, reducing fractions, and so much more

Titles in this series: Apples, Butterflies, Cats, Dogs, Edgewood, Farming, Goldfish, Honey, Ice Cream, Jelly Beans

“My granddaughter, who truly dislikes math, always wants to start the day with Fred. I have to stop her after four chapters. She would do the entire book in a day if allowed. I never thought I could use math class as a reward! And she is learning besides.” -Bette, Homeschooler

<b>Life of Fred Intermediate Math Series</b>

Designed for students under age 10, who have already finished the Life of Fred elementary book series. Best for students who can add, subtract, and who understand multiplication and division.

Who is it for? 3rd to 7th grade

Concepts covered: Milliliters, writing numerals in checks ($4000 and not $40.00), idioms, 1/4 + 1/4 +1/4 = 3/4, elapsed time, metaphors, milligrams and pounds, rounding numbers, three-eighths of 19,416, and more

Titles in this series: Kidneys, Liver, Mineshaft

“I wasn’t so sure about these books. I had heard a lot of good reviews but after we got them, just skimming through the books, I wasn’t sure my 9 year old daughter would like them. But I was WRONG! She really likes them! They move at a pace she likes and being one continuous story about Fred’s life keeps her interested and entertained. We will be back for more soon. She just finished Kidneys and is now on Liver.” -Melisa, Homeschooler

<b>Life of Fred Intro to Algebra Series</b>

If your student can solve these equations: 5 + 8, 8 – 5, 7 times 8, 6231 divided by 93, then he or she is ready for the Fractions titles.

Who is it for? 6th to 12th grade

Concepts covered: less than, cardinal and ordinal numbers, adding and subtraction fractions, lines of symmetry, geometric figures, circumference, reducing fractions, sets and subsets, probability, consecutive numbers, repeating decimals, area of a triangle, square roots, ordered pairs, and more

Titles in this series: Fractions, Decimals and Percents

“My boys really enjoy hearing about the story of Fred’s life. At first it sounded weird, Fred is a 5-year-old math genius, really? It didn’t take long for my boys to get hooked on the Life of Fred books – there’s humor and math woven throughout the story. They always look forward to finding out what happens next.” –Joelle, Homeschooler

<b>Life of Fred Pre-Algebra Series</b>

Fred does physics before algebra. What’s the difference between math and physics? In this series, students use math and science to solve quirky, real world scenarios – all while having fun with Fred.

Who is it for? 3rd to 7th graders

Concepts covered: numerals, area of a rectangle, the speed of light, nine forms of energy, Hooke’s law, static versus kinetic friction, photosynthesis, metric system, Gregorian calendar, conversion factors, unit analysis, freedom versus liberty, steps in solving word problems, venn diagrams, germination of seeds, digestion, negative numbers, whole numbers, chromosomes, DNA, circumference of a circle, and more

Titles in this series: Pre-Algebra 0 with Physics, Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology, and Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics

“My daughter loves these books and so do I. We’re both learning together and it’s fun. The style of writing is engaging and I wish all school books were like this!” –Jennifer, Homeschooler

<b>Life of Fred High School Math Series</b>

In these books, Fred is preparing for college so students learn algebra, geometry, trigonometry, etc. The Practice books are keyed directly to the books/specific chapters in the books. Each problem is worked out in complete detail to offer additional help for any student who gets “stuck” and needs a little assistance.

Who is it for? 8th to 12th grade

Concepts covered: infinite numbers, ratios, graphs, plotting points, averages, multiplying polynomials, solving fractional equations, Pythagorean theorem, milkshake marketing, absolute value, surface area of a cone, imaginary numbers, slopes of perpendicular lines, complex fractions, linear equations, Cramer’s rule, ellipses, graphing in three dimensions, geometric sequences, Pascal’s Triangle, right triangles, quadrilaterals, entrepreneurship, geography of Kansas, piano music, sines, cosines, functions of two angles, a preview of calculus, and more

Titles included in the series: Beginning Algebra, Zillions of Practice Problems for Beginning Algebra, Advanced Algebra, Zillions of Practice Problems for Advanced Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry

“We use LOF to supplement our math curriculum. The kids (and I) love the real-world application and the easy to understand stories.” –Christina, Homeschooler

<b>Life of Fred Language Arts Series</b>

Each book contains 19 lessons on grammar, language, writing, common mistakes, and basically the entire English language. The author suggests doing these four books once every year during your students’ high school years.

Who is it for? 5th to 12th graders

Concepts covered: the seven parts of speech, punctuation, spelling, similes, silent letters, rules for making outlines, the difference between a metaphor and metonymy, and more

Titles included in the series: Australia, Begin Teaching, Classes, Dreams

Even more about the Language Arts books:

“We have the Fred math books and love them, but I wasn’t sure how the language arts books would measure up. I wasn’t surprised, however, to find them just as useful, fun, and educational as the math! Even I enjoy reading them and refreshing knowledge I’ve forgotten and even learning new things!” –Kristin, Homeschooler

<b>Life of Fred Chemistry</b>

In a single lecture hour, Fred completes a whole year of high school chemistry!

Who is it for? 8th grade to college

Concepts covered: exponents, atoms, conversion factors, mass vs. weight, Avogadro’s number, Kelvin scale, atomic number, isotopes, compounds, noble gasses, finding the atomic mass, early chemistry, oxidation numbers, balancing equation, and more

“It’s solid science presented in a way that’s understandable, not intimidating, and it’s fun. You learn math, you learn history and you learn science, all through the Life of Fred – through his experiences and teachings.” -Lisa, Homeschooler

“It reads like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but the chemistry is solid.” -Lisa’s husband, PhD in Analytical Chemistry

<b>Life of Fred College Math Series</b>

Who is it for? 9th grade to adults. This series is geared towards advanced high school math students, students preparing for college, or any adult who wants to brush up on their math skills while reading fun stories. Students learn calculus, statistics, linear algebra, and advanced math puzzles

Concepts covered: functions, speed, slope, curvature, polar coordinates, Bayes’ Theorem, probability, descriptive statistics, field guides, solving systems of equations, vector spaces, linear functionals, math theory, abstract arithmetic, and more

Titles included in the series: Calculus, Statistics, Linear Algebra, and Five Days of Upper Division Math

“I bought this set for my son almost 2 years ago. He is currently going to Boise State and majoring in math. Life of Fred has made it so that all of his college level math classes are basically review. He is now taking them to earn the official credit, but says they are very easy because of Life of Fred. He would have been able to skip several math classes, but they are required for his major (Applied Math, thanks to the love of math that came from Life of Fred – Life of Fred has been his primary math program since Fractions). Thanks for another GREAT set of books!!!!!” -Janet

<b>Life of Fred Financial Choices</b>

Fred can help you teach your children about financial management, decisions, and choices. It’s very likely that you will pick up a tip or two as well.

Who is it for? Useful for middle school kids – adults

Concepts covered: entrepreneurship, spending, investing, retirement, debt, calculating interest, how to start a business, insurance, taxes, real estate, successful spending habits, stocks, mortgages, REITS, mutual funds, and more

“I have read through this book and found it full of great information for all ages. As always, the stories are interesting, humorous and make learning fun. The book opens with Fred figuring out his expenses and then goes on to cover wants vs. needs, compounding interest, investments and many other important topics for those desiring to learn how to be a good steward of their finances and to know how investments work.” -Rosanna, Homeschooler

Life of Fred books – homeschoolers love them!


  • Reviewed on Monday, September 15, 2014
  • Grades Used: Apples, beginning Butterflies
  • Dates used: 2014
My dd is in love with Fred! We just finished the first book in the elementary series, Apples, and are eagerly awaiting the other 9 books, expected on our front porch any minute.

We have tried three different math curriculums and all three have produced tears at some point. I was hesitant to try Fred because it didn't seem to me like a "real" math curriculum at first glance. I went ahead and purchased the first book, desperate for something my daughter would be able to understand without tears and frustration. She proceeded to finish the book within a few days and never once balked about working out the "Your Turn to Play" problems at the end of each chapter. She kept begging me to let her finish "just one more chapter!" and chattered for days about the silly things Fred did or said.

I'm still not sure if we will make this her sole math curriculum, but we are sold on Fred! These books will have a permanent place on our bookshelf and will be enjoyed by all of our children.

I would highly recommend Fred for children who love to read, but don't necessarily love math. My dd reads at a high school level, but struggles daily with simple math computations. LOF seems to be the ticket: READ the math. Genius!


  • Reviewed on Sunday, August 17, 2014
  • Grades Used: First 2 books
  • Dates used: 2013-2014
My children absolutely love Fred. Aside from All About Spelling, it is their favorite "subject." We laugh while we read it together. The only slightly negative thing I would say about it is that in my experience, it is definitely not the only thing you need to teach math. It does use every day situations , and it always has other facts and things to learn that have nothing to do with math, but it falls short as far as math facts and things that in my opinion , they really need.If I recall correctly, they address this on their site and give you another option for math facts and such. But it helps me in a big way because it helps me see where their learning gaps are. When we can't answer a question in Fred, it alerts me to kind of camp out on that til they get it. Example: If yesterday was Friday, what is the day after tomorrow? That question for some reason threw my kids for a loop, so I knew then that it wouldn't hurt to spend some time on a little deeper review of the days of the week, other than the names and order. But after a couple of days of randomly discussing it for a minute or two, they clicked, and we were back to Fred :). Its worth it! Just don't rely on it solely.


  • Reviewed on Monday, June 23, 2014
  • Grades Used: 1-5th
  • Dates used: 2011-2014
my son is starting 5th grade next year. We started with Saxon for a year or so, but then switched because Saxon wasn't for us! We then moved on to Right Start Math, and although we liked it better than Saxon, it still didn't feel right for my son. I decided to try something really different and that is how we ended up using Life of Fred. We started at the beginning with Apple, and have completed Jellybeans a couple of months ago, in the Spring. My son loves math again, and can't wait to do it, so that makes me so happy.

It's a literary style of math, and I think it's great because it is an organic way of looking at and presenting math, a way of seeing it in every day life. It works for my son and for me, so we will always be using Life of Fred, even if we choose to supplement with something else. There are questions at the end of each chapter and "Rows of Practice" sometimes, but I always add extra of my own, like maybe between 4-8 extra questions.

I have actually contacted the writer to ask about the answer to a question because I didn't understand. He emailed me back and was very helpful and had a sense of humour. I read that another reviewer contacted him on the phone and said he was rude and condescending, but I have to wonder if there was a misunderstanding or he was just having a really bad day or something because it was not my experience at all.

This summer I decided to mix it up a bit and maybe fill in any weak spots (I'm always looking to cover our bases!) I decided to look into Beast Academy (and started at their beginning books, most of which is below my son's level, but not all of it.) So last year my son finished 4th grade, but this summer he's doing all of Beast Academy's 3rd grade math because Beast Academy is advanced math. After one finishes 5th grade beast Academy curriculum, you move onto Art of Problem Solving. From what I understand, these are very high level math programs, used by people who get into math competitions or something. I like this program, too, and it's taught in a cartoon type way, then you do the practice problems, and my son is doing it, but he keeps saying he can't wait to get into the next Life of Fred Book! My son can't wait!

So for me, that is the most important thing. He' likes the characters in LOF, the way it's written, the global point of view, the way math is interwoven into the everyday life of Fred. Math is not just isolated in boring script, or endless practice with no context. Some children will get through math and dread it, and develope a lifelong fear of math (like me) and for people who need more that boring and predictable, LOF is for them. The writer is a real person, not a corporation. There are a few typos and he welcomes questions or corrections. No one is perfect. I'm happy that we're doing something different this summer, especially this interesting and challenging series, but we will also be continuing with LOF to keep it alive for my son, but may also go back to trying other things when I want to take a break from LOF or see how my son does with other programs, out of curiosity, or see how he stacks up with other programs.

We may choose to change curriculum in the future, but the plan is to continue, and I am pretty sure we'll be sticking to it, as long as it's fun and interest-provoking.