Life of Fred

As you know, we have made some big changes in our homeschool curriculum in the last 6 weeks. Trail Guide to Learning by Geography Matters is a hit all around, but so is our math!

I have been a bit hesitant to talk about it, because the last math curriculum seemed good at first, but was a bust.

However, I just ordered another title in the Life of Fred Elementary Series, and I know that we for sure love it, so I am sharing with you now.

First of all, Life of Fred is NOTHING like any other math curriculum you will ever find. That is a VERY good thing.


See the little guy on the cover? That is Fred, he is a 5-year-old genius/ professor for KITTENS University. Every lesson centers around-wait for it- the Life of Fred.

The stories are funny, and entertaining. They also sneak in a whole lot of learning!


And the lessons aren’t just math, you will also get a lot of real world facts that you won’t find in any math book.

You will also be happy to find sprinkles of character lessons-


{ the illustrations are even hilarious-I could have totally made them myself!}

Life of Fred gives a living book feel to math, but is NOT watered down. There is tough stuff in these books!

Some Q&A-;

Will this curriculum be enough? {I knew you were going to ask!}

My answer is yes, and that is the same answer I got from Stan, who wrote the books. At the beginning, I had yet to catch on to what LOF is all about, and I ordered supplement curriculum.

We didn’t use it past the first week. They just don’t need it.

Where should my child start?

The professional opinion of Stan is located on the Life of Fred website. I personally have my 2nd, 3rd, and 6th grader in Apples, the first book in the Elementary Series. {My 6th grader is behind in some math from public school, and does two lessons a day.}

I emailed Stan the other day {he always promptly emails back} and he suggests not starting Apples until 1st grade in most cases.

Our 8th grader is in Fractions, but he also reads Apples for fun.

Yes, fun.

Is it expensive?

Not only are most of the volumes $16.00-18.00, but they are hardback, non-consumable books you can use year after year. Stan also pays the media mail shipping {be sure to check the shipping box} when you purchase through Z-Twist Books. {You won’t find them cheaper on Amazon, and you won’t see free shipping either.}

So to recap, we LOVE Life of Fred. If you would like to learn more/see for yourself, there are helpful links all through this post, to just where you will want to go, just hover your mouse and they will pop up.. If you choose to purchase, there are no affiliate links or anything, I just try to make things easy to share with others.

If you feel like math produces only tears and panic attacks, I would run to the Life of Fred site now!

© 2011, Sam. All rights reserved.

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      • Mariah says

        Hello. I was just reading your blog about LOF. I am really looking into it for my kids and I am wondering why you have switched to not using LOF as your main curriculum anymore??
        This is something I have heard different opinions on and I’d love to hear your input.
        Thank you!

  1. says

    My son is a right brain learner (which I recently discovered) therefore he is struggling with reading. His comprehension is fine when I read to him but on his own he can’t quite remember what he read (probably cause he is not reading the correct words…duh…hahaha) Anyway i have discovered he needs hands on curriculum (majorly) so he can glue it into his long term memory. How do you think LoF will work for him? Reading is not yet his thing…. I am bound and determined to make it his thing but we are still struggling at this point.

  2. says

    I have considered Life of Fred, my son is advanced in math but struggles ith reading comp.’I am wondering if the story form is too sililar to word problems in othe math texts.

  3. says

    Hey thanks, Sam. We have some of the Life of Fred, but I didn’t know about the elementary series. Hmmm…how do I sneak that into the already-spent homeschool budget. I need to stop reading blogs. :)

  4. says

    Thanks for sharing this! My 4th grader is using Teaching Textbooks which works great for him but I’m not thrilled with the Math-U-See my first grader is using.  I’ve been wanting to switch to something different for him but wasn’t sure which direction to go.  I’m going to look into this! Thanks again!

  5. sarah says

    we are looking for a new curric for my 6th grader – he is really ahead of the curric I already have him doing, yet I find he is SO lacking the basic skills of problem solving as it relates to creative problem solving.  6 years of public school and he is very black and white and was a full year ahead of his peers, but I wonder where in this type of curric I should start him….

  6. Teri says

    Thanks for sharing your review! I am planning on starting this next year but was wondering if it needed supplements so I am happy to hear it is enough on it’s own!

    • says

      Some people do supplement, but I can see that the curriculum is solid. If you are addicted to lots of problems, or worksheets, you still may want to. 

  7. Nicole@journey2Excellence says

    My son started LOF with Decimals and Percents last year. He has also completed Fractions and Pre-Algebra with Biology. Concerned that he might need something more heavy-hitting, we switched to Teaching Textbooks for Algebra. Within two weeks we were back to LOF Beginning Algebra.  We will be sticking with it through high school.

  8. Sacha @ Home in the Trenches says

    Thanks for sharing.  I have heard about LOF but didn’t know much about it….this review did a great job of giving me a good idea of what it is.  We will definitely be looking into it more….

  9. Emilystrobel says

    I’ve heard of this math program and it sounds wonderful!  I will have to discuss this with my husband!  Thanks for a great review!

  10. Melissa M. says

    We’ve been using Horizons Math since the beginning and your review has me questioning if we should switch (I did have a fellow homeschool mom, who is also a math major, recommend this, too).  My kids do their work, but they really don’t enjoy it.  Thanks for the review!  :)

      • Melissa M. says

        LOL–I was considering the other two that you listed as well.  How fast are you going through the lessons?  I have a 4th grader and a 2nd grader (and a 3-year old).  I thought I read somewhere where you complete a chapter a day…is that right?

        • says

          Yes, a chapter a day. You will have to buy a few books each year, but it is a steal compared to others, in my opinion!
          —–Original message—–

      • Melissa M. says

        I saw that you switched back. We’ve been using Life of Fred since January. My 9-year old (boy) LOVES it and really seems to enjoy analyzing and thinking through the problems. My 7-year old loves the stories, but she’s shed some tears through the process (she doesn’t like to get things wrong). 😉 During the first two books, I really questioned if I was doing the right thing by making the switch. We’re now halfway through Cats, and I feel like it’s a good match for my oldest; my daughter, maybe not.

        I think that when my little one is old enough, we will start in Horizons like I did the other two and play it by ear.

  11. says

    Thank you so much for this review.  I have been on the fence about LOF but this convinced me to try it with the boys.  Thanks again!


  1. […] Math took the mystery out of living math for me, and gave me the confidence to step out of our Life of Fred books and make math an all day addition to our learning. {Life of Fred is very living math on […]