Math at my house generally brings frustration and agony to my kids and me. I usually avoid any questions on which math curriculum do you use…cause we have used most of them. Especially since each of my kids learn differently. I have to work hard not to grumble about teaching math.
A few months ago I stumbled upon an online discussion of math books and discovered Life of Fred. At my first convention I bought the first three books in the series.
After reading the Life of Fred Apples, I knew I was going to need to incorporate hands-on activities and extra practice with the concepts.
Three things that I am incorporating into each Life of Fred lesson:
- Writing and building new concepts in his Life of Fred notebook.
- Teaching what he learned to his friend “Woody.”
- Retelling the story by changing the plot or the numbers to create new problems.
First I created a notebook for keeping track of his work. I wanted the page to have the bottom left blank so he could draw and write the problems. The blank squares in the corner are for drawing Fred or drawing some of the animals that are discussed in different lessons. On the cover page, your child adds their own name.
Since Fred talks often with his doll Kingie, I found this to be a great way for my son to teach his friend, Woody. Now Woody is going to school to learn math.
I make sure to have different math manipulatives on hand to retell the story. If Fred used pencils, I may retell the story with buttons. If Fred goes for a run, we do too after the math lesson. If Fred is sleeping in a sleeping bag, we do our math lesson in a sleeping bag. Yes, if Fred cooks bacon and eggs we do too. Now something tells me this might become more challenging as we continue the series but for now it is working.
I found a nice big clock at the Dollar Tree. I have my son use his flashlight to shine on the clock and tell me the time. He turns off the flashlight and I set the clock to a new time and then he shines the light on the clock and tells me the time again.
The nice thing about starting the Life of Fred series with the first book is that there are still some new concepts being introduced. My son has found great humor in discussing Fred having a deciduous nose and how hard life would be without a nose. Or even how sad he is for the circle that gets squashed by an elephant and becomes an ellipse.