When I first learned of the Life of Fred math books I just couldn’t imagine a math text that read like a novel and made kids feel that begging-for-math excitement that I kept reading about. And, all without worksheets! Seriously?!
And then I read the first chapter of the Fractions book to Travis as I was researching the series. When I was done, he said, “We have to get that. I want to read it.” Travis loves math, and was actually a math major for the first year of his undergraduate studies. So it may not be that surprising that he was excited, I mean, he LOVEs math, and the kids love it when he does it with them. But most of the time, I am doing their math with them and me, well, I always thought I just wasn’t a math person. Fred might change my perception of myself.
From the section titled A Note to Students: “This is the story of one day in Fred’s life. He’s five years old, but he does some things that many fifty-five-year-olds have never done.”
And from A Note to Parents: “You know what arithmetic books look like. They are all pretty much alike. Using very few words, they give a couple of examples and then have the students do a hundred identical problems. Then they give another couple examples and another hundred problems. And for students, arithmetic becomes as much fun as cleaning up their rooms, eating yams, or going to the dentist.”
Granted, my kids really like yams and they also don’t mind the dentist, but even doing Singapore math, my oldest went from LOVING math to groaning about it. The spark was gone.
You can see sample pages here so you too can feel excited about math again.
The really cool thing is that since I started researching the Fred books, Dr. Schmidt has written a whole series of books that are the prequel to the Fractions book, and intended for use by young students. Bonus!
The books themselves are hardbound, with a glossy cover and they are easy to hold.
Today when the books came in the mail, the kids started flipping through the pages. About 30 minutes later I heard them both asking me if they could do their math. Uh, sure?… Just let me know if you need help. And then they asked to do a few more exercises. I said, ok, what’s going on?
Oh, we aren’t excited about this math (meaning the Singapore) we just want to finish our books so we can go on to the Fred books.
Need I say more?
As I relayed this conversation to Travis tonight he said, “Why are you making them finish their workbooks? Just go ahead with Fred.”
Tomorrow the kids get their choice of spiral or composition notebooks to do their work in… with Fred.