Presented by JOY Center of Learning
Math to fit your personal style
and unique students.
Life of Fred Mathematics
When and Where Do I Start with Life of Fred?To learn mathematics in a timely fashion, Fred highly recommends that you complete his course of study in the order listed below.
Don't be misled by the basic titles. Fred covers much more in each text than what the title indicates. Stan, who puts Fred's words to paper, has put a list of concepts taught in each book (a scope and sequence if you like that terminology) along with the sample lessons for each book from the series appearing on this website.
For detailed information on where to start, scroll down this page.
Click on each title for scope and sequence and sample lessons.
Titles are available individually and also in sets.
- Ice Cream
- Jelly Beans
5th Grade and above
(5th Graders and some 6th graders should start with the Intermediate Series before beginning Fractions. Some 5th and 6th graders would benefit from completing the last two books of the Elementary Series as well.)
- Decimals and Percents
- Pre-Algebra 0 Physics
- Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology
- Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics
- Beginning Algebra
- Advanced Algebra
- Linear Algebra
- Five Days
- Real Analysis
Beginning Life of Fred With Students Up to 4th Grade
If your child knows how to count, add, and subtract to 10, they are ready to start Life of Fred: Apples. Dr. Schmidt recommends that all students up to the end of 4th grade start with the Apples book as he introduces higher level math concepts throughout the entire elementary series. Your student will be introduced to terminology that they normally would not encounter until much higher levels.
Life of Fred Elementary does not spend a lot of time teaching the basic math facts. Dr. Schmidt believes the basic math facts can be taught in an informal way using games and flashcards. If you are someone who needs a more structured approach to teaching the basic facts while not getting the student bogged down with page after page of the boring, repetitive questions, check out Professor B Mathematics Level 1 and 2. We (JOY Center of Learning) personally recommend Professor B Mathematics Levels 1 and 2 for teaching the math skills needed before starting the Life of Fred Pre-Algebra series or along with the Elementary Series. Click here for more information about Professor B Math. (opens in a new window). The Life of Fred Math Elementary books are a complete program. Some people find their students simply need a little more formal instruction on how addition and subtraction works rather than just memorizing the facts by rote.
If you have completed the Life of Fred Elementary and Intermediate Series and/or thoroughly know with a high degree of competence and accuracy:
i) the addition tables (What's 5 + 8?)
ii) the subtraction tables (What's 8 - 5?)
iii) the multiplication tables (What's 7 times 8?)
iv) long division (What's 6231 divided by 93?)
and are 10 years of age or older...
...you are ready to start Life of Fred Fractions, the first book in the Pre-Algebra series. This book goes far beyond basic fractions so you probably do need it even if you have already learned a bit about basic fractions.
After completing Life of Fred Fractions, go on to the Decimals and Percents Book. Again, this book teaches much more than decimals and percents! Follow along the recommended order for completion and before you know it, you will be inviting Fred as a guest to your dinner table conversations.
NOTE: If your student has finished all of the Elementary books but is not old enough for 5th Grade, we recommend that you go through the Elementary books again. Like any good book, you learn more the second (or third) time through. While most students are not mentally mature enough to handle the Life of Fred Fractions book until they are old enough for 5th grade, there are exceptions to every rule. If your child is ready, do not feel you must hold them back. On the other hand, they will not be behind if you wait until they are 10 before starting the Life of Fred Pre-Algebra series.
NOTE – SPACED REPETITION: With younger students (1st or 2nd grader), we recommend going through three or four books together with the child and then having them go back through the same three or four books on their own. This will give them the necessary review they need to learn the math and will also stretch the program out for you. Then, when they are in 4th grade, have them go through all 10 Elementary books and the 3 Intermediate books in one year as final preparation before starting Life of Fred Fractions.
Beginning Life of Fred With Students 5th Grade or Higher
There are five books that together form a complete Pre-Algebra course: Life of Fred Fractions, Decimals & Percents, PreAlgebra 0 with Physics, PreAlgebra 1 with Biology, and PreAlgebra 2 with Economics.
Start here if:
- You do not have a solid understanding of fractions, decimals, percents and the other concepts covered in a traditional pre-algebra program.
- You do not like math
- You have used any another math program up to 7th grade level (we recommend Professor B Math - Levels 1-3 and/or Life of Fred Elementary)
- You have used any Saxon Math up to and including the Pre-Algebra books.
There is an old saying that you shouldn't start algebra until you have hair under your arms. A child's brain needs to develop physiologically before tackling the abstractions that algebra contains. With this in mind, a student should not probably start Beginning Algebra until around 7th or 8th Grade. Since the five books in the Pre-Algebra series are designed to take approximately 1 to 1 1/2 school years to complete, a 5th or 6th grader could go through the five books a second time to make sure the concepts are thoroughly understood. (If you are really good with math and ready to move on, don't hold back!)
NOTE: If a 5th or 6th grader does not have a solid foundation in math, hates math, or struggles with math, we recommend that you consider going through at least the last two books of the Elementary Series and the three Intermediate Series books. Some students would benefit by going through the entire Elementary series followed by the Intermediate Series before starting with Life of Fred Fractions. If this is the case, don't be concerned. Life of Fred Math is an ungraded program, designed for the student to progress at their own speed. You have lots of time to get through the entire program even if you do not start Life of Fred Fractions until 7th or 8th Grade.
2. Life of Fred Beginning Algebra and Life of Fred Advanced Algebra
These books are complete Algebra courses. Start here if:
- You have finished the Life of Fred PreAlgebra books
- You have used another algebra program.
- You have used Saxon Math Algebra 1 and/or 2.
Beginning Algebra and Advanced Algebra cover more algebra than almost any other curriculum, particularly those used by home educators. It also teaches algebra in a different order than most other programs. As a result, it is beneficial to go through both books, even if your student has already had algebra instruction. Fred will take you quickly through Beginning Algebra and you will understand and enjoy! Besides, you really don't want to miss out on Fred's exciting life!
After completing Beginning and Advanced Algebra, you are ready to tackle Life of Fred Geometry.
3. Life of Fred Geometry
- You have finished Life of Fred Advanced Algebra
- You have a thorough understanding of Algebra
- You have completed Algebra 1 and 2 in another program
- You are taking a geometry course and not understanding what they are teaching
Geometry is much easier to understand once you have a thorough understanding of Algebra. Want proofs? This course is full of them. Life of Fred Geometry does all of geometry - from a point and a line to the 14th dimension! By the way, this is a study of actual geometry - not just some introductory concepts that someone tried to cram into your brain when you were in kindergarten - this is a square and it has four right angles! Or in fifth grade - this is a polygon. Nope, get the real stuff from Fred!
After completing Life of Fred Geometry, you are ready to move into the realm of Trigonometry.
4. Life of Fred Trigonometry
Trigonometry is almost a "pre-calculus" course. This course gives you a preview of all of Calculus and what specific material you'll need from arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trig in order to do all of calculus. It also contains reviews of functions, factoring, fractions, and graphing inserted just before the chapters in trig in which you will need them. It is recommended that you have finished Algebra and Geometry before starting Trigonometry.
After completing Trigonometry, move right along into Life of Fred Calculus.
5. Life of Fred Calculus
Finished Trigonometry? Calculus is your logical next step. Not just a high school Advanced Placement course, this Calculus book actually covers two years of College Calculus. Looking to take the CLEP Exams? Life of Fred Calculus will give you the training you need. Taking first or second year college Calculus and not getting it? Let Fred help.
6. Life of Fred Statistics
Life of Fred Statistics covers 1st year college statistics. If you have finished trigonometry, (and preferably calculus), try this course on for size. Statistics are used in almost every area of life. Ever hear of 90 out of 100 people... (with a 3 percent margin of error, 18 out of 20 times)? You just heard a statistic. Find out how polling companies come up with the polls that media sources report. Read about one morning in the life of Fred in which he encounters the need for each of the 46 different tests while learning more statistics than is usually taught in 1st year college courses.
7. Life of Fred Linear Algebra
Life of Fred Linear Algebra is for someone looking to major in math at college. It is a math course required by most colleges for math majors and is an upper division level course. If you have finished Life of Fred Calculus and want a further challenge, look no further. Taking college level linear algebra and not getting it? Not quite ready to stop learning from Fred? This book is for you.
8. Life of Fred Five Days
Life of Fred Five Days is for the student looking for additional math challenges. Rather than a course of study, this book is a sampler of advanced math for students who love math and Fred and want to preview courses they may take later. No "word problems," no formulas to memorize, no concrete applications - just puzzles to solve.