3 No-Nonsense Ways to Work with Life of Fred Math

Of the eight years we’ve been homeschooling, our favorite math curriculum hands-down is Life of FredNot being a family that particularly loves the drill-and-kill method of learning, Life of Fred has provided a fun alternative to the otherwise dreaded math programs we’ve used in the past.

As our homeschool has changed over the years, so has our approach to these books. What I’ve discovered through it all is that no matter which of these options you choose, your children will not only learn math as it is used in real life, but they’ll enjoy themselves while they’re doing it, too. 

As an out-of-the box homeschooler, today I’m going to share with you the various ways we’ve successfully used this curriculum. My ultimate hope is to give you the confidence you need to throw out that math book that makes your kids cry (and maybe you, too), in order to bring new life to an otherwise stressful subject.

3 ways to use Life of Fred


3 Different Ways to Use Life of Fred Math


1. Use it everyday as with any other math curriculum.

I know I started with the most obvious, but I had to include it because…well…it’s the most obvious. Not only does Life of Fred contain enough meat to use it as your sole math curriculum, but it is the only math program I know of that combines almost every single other subject in with the math, as well.


2. Supplement it with another math workbook.

Sometimes parents just aren’t comfortable with math lessons that don’t include a substantial amount of math drills. Additionally, some children have difficulty learning basic math facts and would benefit from some extra practice. Alternating days between Life of Fred and a more traditional workbook is a great way to get those basic math skills mastered while providing comical and real life scenarios in which those skills would be necessary. It’s a win/win situation.


3. Simply enjoy it as a read-aloud.

When we were unschooling, we continued to read this series together everyday. The kids enjoyed the antics of 5-year-old Fred, and I was satisfied knowing that my kids were being exposed to math on a regular basis. That’s the beauty of these books. Since they’re literature-based, they’re the perfect combination of math and reading- the two most crucial skills to teach your children. Most kids won’t even realize they’re learning math during these entertaining tales because they are genuine stories- not just generic word problems.


This year I’ve got children from 3rd grade through 9th grade using this one-of-a-kind curriculum. I do want to point out that I am not in any way affiliated with the publisher of this series. I am simply so impressed with it that I wanted to share it with all of my readers. Life of Fred is a gem. Consider giving it a try. 🙂



Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

33 thoughts on “3 No-Nonsense Ways to Work with Life of Fred Math”

  1. I’ve heard of the curriculum and since my son hates to read (even though he is exceptional at it) I put it aside. I didn’t know to consider it as a read out loud. That’s a good way to get a non-reader engaged.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My kids enjoy Fred even if we do find his story a little bizarre at times. We set the books aside sometime last semester (Goldfish), but I think it may be time to add it back to our Morning Meeting time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My daughter is in Goldfish right now. (Are you referring to the bacteria given to Fred as a “pet,” lol?) It does get bizarre, but I think that’s part of what keeps my kids interested!


      1. The bacteria, the talking sheep, the fact that Fred is 5 years old and a college professor… all of it really, but like you said, that’s part of what keeps them so interested.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My husband uses the higher-level books with his class (I’m looking at the Calculus one right now) and it looks so great, but I’ve not seen the books for the early years. Our library doesn’t have them and I wasn’t able to get them ILL. I tried looking in all my usual rock-bottom-book-prices places online, but couldn’t find any super-cheap, so I’m in that situation of not being able to see it/try it out first… How early do you start reading these to your kids? I know my Gv would love listening to the stories, but if they’re like this Calc book, then I know the math portion could be over her head, so I’m just wondering what age you start using these with.

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  4. I’ve seen so much about Life of Fred, but I’ve never used it. We homeschooled for a little while, but then my kids went back to public school. Do you think it would be a good family reading/math activity in addition to a public school system?

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  5. My family has been homeschooling for 22 years (since I was a toddler!) and my mom just came across this series this year–she bought just the first four books to begin with, but they’ve already used them all and now she intends to buy every one! They’re a lot of fun! For us, we also use a more traditional math curriculum and worksheets as well, but these books integrate math into life and are just so fun the kids don’t want to stop after finishing a chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have heard so many good comments about Life of Fred. I found Apples and Butterflies at a local homeschooling consignment store and bought them. I’m so excited to introduce LOF on Monday to my first grader. We are just 2 weeks into homeschooling and have started with LIFEPACS. I think LOF will bring some fun into our math time. Also, I enjoy reading your posts. You were inspirational in helping me calm down, chill out and relax in my homeschool planning. I’m Type A and a former public school teacher. After perusing your blog (and many other relaxed homeschool blogs), I’ve decided to be more relaxed and make our learning time fun. Thanks! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi. I’m enjoying your blogs Thankyou.
    Quick question re LOF for high schoolers.
    We are in Aussie & my 14yo DS has returned to home ed after 2.5 yrs in middle school(grades 6-8).
    Do we start LOG from apples or one of the later books?
    Do your high schoolers do LOF independently?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would consider starting in the Intermediate books, which start with Kidneys. You could always start from Apples for fun so that you understand the whole storyline, but I don’t think it would be necessary. My high schoolers like to read LOF aloud with me. They will usually try to do the problems themselves, but if they have trouble, I’m right there next to them, ready to help.


  8. Hello! We are just starting apples. I’ve heard others say that the books should be repeated over and over. Does this mean after each one is completed or after the whole beginner series? My daughter is 7 and we are having a lot of fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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