How to Use Life of Fred in Your Homeschool Successfully

June 23, 2022

Sarah Shelton

Sarah Shelton

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Math can be a tricky subject to teach, and some children can get bored of the normal textbook style homeschool math curriculum.  Life of Fred math and language arts is is a unique math and language arts program that your children will have a lot of fun with.

Girl in front of a math problems on a chalkboard with a light bulb above her head.

Life of Fred

The Life of Fred series takes a literature approach to learning math and language arts with hilarious stories and real-life learning applications.

Your kids will also learn about science, history and geography facts, economics, finances, life skills and more while reading the stories.

There are a total of sixty books in the Life of Fred series.

What are Life of Fred Books?

The Life of Fred books are a series of math books written by retired math teacher and math professor Dr. Stanley Schmidt. They follow the zany adventures of a child prodigy genius named Fred Gauss.

Throughout the stories, Fred encounters math and has to learn how to use it to get through each day. The story-based texts and silly illustrations make learning math and any subject so much fun.

Why Homeschoolers Love This Series

Life of Fred books take a creative approach to learning math and other subjects by learning through a story. Fred, the main character does everything with mathematic thinking.

These books are a good choice for a child that balks at learning math and that would rather think outside of the box to learn.

The stories are so ridiculous and funny and will keep your kids on the edge of their seats.

Math in Real Life

Fred teaches your kids that math can really be used in real life and day-to-day situations. Math skills are presented in such a fun and unique way that your kids who hate math won’t even realize that they are beginning to love it!

There is no drill and kill with these books. Everything your child needs to learn is done by reading the fun stories and applying it at the end of each chapter with a game.

These books are solid and last a long time. They are a nice, hard back non-consumable textbook that can be used over and over again with multiple children.

Additionally, Life of Fred books are affordable. There are no extra workbooks, teacher guides, answer keys or math manipulative worksheets that need to be purchased.

How Life of Fred Math Lessons Work

Life of Fred books are chapter books. As your child reads the stories they began to learn and work independently at the end of each chapter.

Each book in the series has around 18-25 chapters. At the end of each chapter is where the lessons begin. There is a section called “Your Turn to Play.” This makes the math stories turn into a game. 

Math Notebook to Record Answers

Give your child a notebook labeled Life of Fred Math where they can record their answers. Each chapter has between 3 and 10 problems for your child to work out onto a separate paper. The work is light as to not overwhelm, especially in the elementary books.

Upper Elementary Levels

The upper levels have more built-in review and quizzes. Beginning at Fractions, there is a review every four chapters called The Bridge. There are 10 questions and your child must get 9 of them right before they are allowed to move on. At the end of the book is a final exam of sorts that has 15 review questions to complete.

The upper levels also have answer keys to make sure that you are getting the answers correct.

Where to Start Life of Fred

Read on to learn where you should start your student in the Life of Fred series.

Life of Fred Elementary Math

If you want to begin this series in elementary, start with Apples. It introduces Fred and his life and is a fun book that reads easily. If your kids have been doing math for awhile, it will be a fun, quick read for them. And, as they slowly progress to the harder books, it will help give them a good foundation in math.

If your child has their addition facts down, but does not have their multiplication facts memorized completely, you can start them in Goldfish. Often time students will want to read the earlier books anyhow, just for fun!

Life of Fred Middle School and High School

There is a short placement test for you to decide if they are ready for Fractions, Decimal and Percents.

If you have an older child, it really depends on where you want to start them. Each child is unique, and there may be some gaps you will want to fill if you are switching from a different curriculum.

Has your child done the first year of high school algebra? There are lots of algebra placement test questions to give your child to see which pre-algebra or algebra book they should start with.

If your child has completed the second year of algebra you will want to have them answer these placement test questions to figure out where they need to start.

Upper Level High School and College Math

Has your child completed Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry? You will want to look over the scope and sequence of Life of Fred: Trigonometry Expanded Edition to see if this book would be a good fit.

Complex Analysis is the last book in the series and ideal for those who have completed four full years of high school level math and the Life of Fred Calculus books. It is a great brush up and an enjoyable help for those needing to take Complex Analysis in college.

Breaking Down the Life Of Fred Math Curriculum

If you want to learn more about this fun math series, read on to explore the math concepts covered in the elementary, middle school, high school, and college level books.

We have even created another post that list the 23 Math Life of Fred Books in Order with a printable list to help you plan out your homeschool math curriculum for your kids.

Life of Fred Elementary Math Series

There are 10 volumes in the Life of Fred Elementary Math Series. The titles are quirky and fun and they go in ABC order with the first book starting with the letter A.

The lower the letter, the lower the level of skill. The Life of Fred elementary series books build upon each other. The titles are: Apples, Butterflies, Cats, Dogs, Edgewood, Farming, Goldfish, Honey, Ice Cream and Jelly Beans.

Life of Fred Elementary Math Series

Target Ages for LOF Elementary Math

This series is geared for kindergarten through 4th grade. If your child can not read on their own you will need to read them to your child and help them work through the problems.

Math Concepts Covered in the Elementary Math Series

The math concepts covered in the Life of Fred elementary math series are: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, fractions, percent, geometry, cardinal numbers, ordinal numbers, whole numbers, circumference, and skip counting.

Learn how drawing things to scale, exponents, Fibonacci numbers, finding patterns, greater than less than, multiplying two-digit numbers, Morse code, long division, telling time, writing larger numbers with commas, and a ton more!

In addition to a ton of complex math subjects that are covered in ways kids can understand, there are language arts concepts and science, history, and geography facts woven in.

Life of Fred Intermediate Math Series

There are 3 volumes in the intermediate math series. They also have fun and quirky titles that continue on in the same alphabetical order. The titles are: Kidneys, Liver and Mineshaft.

Life of Fred Intermediate Math Series

Target Ages for Intermediate Math Series

The Intermediate Math Series is designed to be completed after the elementary series is finished. The average grades for this series is 3rd to 7th grade.

Math Concepts Covered in the Intermediate Math Series

The Life of Fred Intermediate Series covers more advanced math concepts such as: complex numbers, exponents, arithmetic sequences and series, passing the sat exam, division, quotients, changing percents to fractions and reducing fractions.

You will also learn  measurements and conversions, rounding numbers, exponents, cardinality of sets, writing numerals in checks, elapsed time, and more!

There are even different topics covered like science, history, geography, and language arts sprinkled in.

Life of Fred Intro to Algebra Series

The Life of Fred Intro to Algebra Series is designed to be used after your child has mastered all of the elementary books. The volumes in this series do not have the fun names as the other series. These are simply called: Fractions and Decimals and Percents.

Life of Fred Intro to Algebra Series

Target Ages for Intro to Algebra Series

These LOF Books are to be used after your child has mastered their basic math facts. It is geared for grades six to twelve. Older kids may benefit from going through these books if they are stuck on fractions, decimals and percents and need extra help.

Math Concepts Covered in the Intro to Algebra Series

This series will help to prepare your child for pre-algebra.

The concepts that are covered as you follow Fred’s life are: adding and subtraction fractions, area of a triangle, cardinal and ordinal numbers, circumference, consecutive numbers and geometric figures.

Learn greater than less than, lines of symmetry, ordered pairs, probability, reducing fractions, repeating decimals, sets and subsets, square roots, and more.

Life of Fred Pre-Algebra Series

The Life of Fred Pre-Algebra Series is very unique as it includes a lot of science and money topics that help your child learn math. The titles are: Pre-Algebra 0 with Physics, Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology, and Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics

Life of Fred Pre-Algebra Series

Target Ages for Pre-Algebra Series

This series is to be started after your child has mastered fractions, decimals and percents. It is typically done by the end of 7th grade.

Math Concepts Covered in the Pre-Algebra Series

In addition to covering physics, biology and economics concepts, the math concepts included in these books are: area of a rectangle, circumference of a circle, computing mass, constants of proportionality, conversion factors, exponents, finding volume, Gregorian calendar, metric system and negative numbers.

They will also learn: numerals, similar triangles, slope, square roots, static versus kinetic friction, steps in solving word problems and keywords for word problems, the speed of light, unit analysis, Venn diagrams, whole numbers, and more.

Life of Fred High School Math Series

The Life of Fred High School Math Series follows Fred as he prepares for college. There are 6 books in this series. The titles are: Beginning Algebra, Zillions of Practice Problems for Beginning Algebra, Advanced Algebra, Zillions of Practice Problems for Advanced Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry.

Target Ages for High School Math Series

These are designed to be used after your child has completed Pre-Algebra. The grades they can be used in are normally 8th-12th grade depending on skill level.

Math Concepts Covered in the High School Math Series

The high school levels have more advanced concepts to prepare your student for college level courses.

The concepts that are covered in this series are: averages, equations, exponents, factoring, Fahrenheit-Celsius conversions, fractions, functions & slopes, geometry, graphing, and graphs.

You will also learn inequalities & absolute value, infinite numbers, laws, multiplying polynomials, numbers, plotting points, quadratic equations, ratios, signed numbers, solving fractional equations, square roots, a preview of calculus, and more.

Life of Fred Chemistry

Life of Fred Chemistry is a science Chemistry book.

Target Ages for Chemistry

It is designed for grades 8 up through college. A student that is taking chemistry in college may want to read through this book and work on the exercises to give them some extra supplementation and help.

Math Concepts Covered in Chemistry

Chemistry is a science that is very math heavy, so there are lots of math equations in this book.

The math concepts that are covered in this book are: atomic number, atoms, Avogadro’s number, balancing equation, compounds, conversion factors, early chemistry, exponents, finding the atomic mass, isotopes, Kelvin scale, mass vs. weight, noble gasses, oxidation numbers, and more.

Life of Fred College Math Series

There are four volumes in this series for advanced math students. The titles are: Calculus, Statistics, Linear Algebra, Five Days of Upper Division Math, Real Analysis and Complex Analysis.

Life of Fred College Math Series

Target Ages for College Math Series

This series is geared towards advanced high school students or students that are preparing for college. Adults even enjoy using them as a fun math story to read to brush up on their math skills. If they are taking college math classes these books can be a good supplement.

Math Concepts Covered in the College Math Series

There are some pretty advanced math topics in these books. If you are not an advanced math student you may have not even heard of some of these math vocabulary words before.

The concepts covered in the College Math Series are: functions, speed, slope, curvature, polar coordinates, Bayes’ Theorem, probability, descriptive statistics, field guides, solving systems of equations, vector spaces, linear functionals, math theory, abstract arithmetic, and more.

In addition, this series also covers the first order differential equations: variables separable, homogeneous, first order linear, Bernoulli’s, exact, and integrating factors, second order differential equations, vector calculus including the three major theorem: Green’s theorem, Divergence theorem, and Stokes’s theorem.

Life of Fred Financial Choices

This book is a great stand alone book that can be used in middle school through high school and is even good for young adults to read.

Math Concepts Covered in Financial Choices

Life of Fred Financial Choices will teach your children about personal finance and making good financial decisions and choices.

The concepts you will find in this book are: the ultimate use of money, investments, retirement, insurance, taxes, real estate, stocks, bonds, mortgages, REITS, certificates of deposit, mutual funds, and more.

Life of Fred Language Arts Series

The Life of Fred Language Arts book will be fun your older children that have completed the elementary math series because they will be excited to see that the fun and quirky titles have returned. The titles of these books are: Australia, Begin Teaching, Classes and Dreams.


Target Ages for Language Arts Series

The Language Arts Series is a great addition to any language arts program. The grades it can be used in are 5th – 12th grade.

Language Arts Concepts Covered in the Language Arts Series

This series of books has lessons on grammar, language, writing and common mistakes made in grammar and writing.

The concepts that your students will learn in these books are: abbreviations, alliteration, apostrophes, appositive phrase, capitalization, conjugation of a verb in three tenses, conjunctions, consonants, dictionary vs. thesaurus, exaggerating vs. lying, homonyms, hyperbole, irregular plurals, opening and closing salutations, paragraphs, plurals, prefixes, prepositions, proofreading, punctuation, and rules for making outlines.

Students will also learn about silent letters, silent letters, similes, six question words (who, when, where, why, what, and how), spelling, subject-verb agreement, the difference between a metaphor and metonymy, the seven parts of speech, transitive and intransitive verbs, using commas in lists, vowels, and more!

Life of Fred FAQ

Since Life of Fred is a very unique series of books that many people aren’t used to using to learn with, there are always quite a few questions. Here are some of the most common questions that people ask when they are wanting to try out these books.

What grade level is Life of Fred?

The Life of Fred books cover all grade levels from kindergarten through college and adulthood. Each series of books are designed for different grades and skill levels and the books build upon each other.

What is the order of life of Fred books?

There are a lot of books and topics covered in this series. This is the order of the books in the math series.

  • Life of Fred Elementary Math Series: Apples to Jellybeans
  • Life of Fred Intermediate Math Series: Kidneys to Mineshaft
  • Life of Fred Intro to Algebra: Fractions, Decimals and Percents
  • Life of Fred Pre-Algebra Series: Pre-Algebra 0 with Physics, Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology, and Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics
  • Life of Fred High School Math Series: Beginning Algebra, Zillions of Practice Problems for Beginning Algebra, Advanced Algebra, Zillions of Practice Problems for Advanced Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry
  • Life of Fred: Chemistry
  • Life of Fred: Financial Choices
  • Life of Fred College Math Series: Calculus, Statistics, Linear Algebra, Five Days of Upper Division Math, Real Analysis and Complex Analysis.

Is Life of Fred a complete math curriculum?

Yes, Life of Fred is a complete math curriculum. According to Dr. Schmidt, when using all of the books in the series it can be used as a complete math curriculum. There is more mathematics included in all of the books combined than any other homeschool math curriculum that is out there.

When your child goes through these books they will have a solid understanding of the principles of mathematics.

Who is Life of Fred?

Life of Fred is the book series that stars a little boy genius named Fred Gauss. He was born on the slopes of the Siberian mountains and he attends a school called Kittens University.

The books follows his everyday life as he discovers the need for math in everything that he faces. With that need comes the learning part. He then learns the methods to solve the math problems.

How old is Fred from life of Fred?

Fred is a little boy. He is only six years old.

Is life of Fred secular?

Life of Fred is not considered a religious curriculum, though the author is a Christian. There are not many religious references in the books other than Fred going to church and saying a prayer. It is enjoyed by secular and non-secular homeschoolers.

What is the first life of Fred book?

The first book in the series begins with Apples.

Does life of Fred prepare for college?

Life of Fred covers more math than a regular homeschool math curriculum. With that being said, if your child has only ever used Life of Fred, they may need some help with college test prep if they aren’t used to taking standardized tests.

What age should you start Fred?

You can begin this book series at any time. The earliest that you can start the book Apples is in kindergarten.

What comes after life of Fred fractions?

After the Fractions book is Decimals and Percents. Then the series moves into Pre-Algebra.

Is life of Fred spiral or mastery?

Life if Fred is neither spiral nor mastery. It is funny stories that involve living math that your children learn as they read them and work through the problems.

In Conclusion:

Life of Fred is an amazing option for a math curriculum for your homeschool. Some families find that if it is done consistently, it can completely replace their homeschool math curriculum.

Other families enjoy using it for supplementation and to get their kids excited about math. Whichever you choose, Life of Fred is a really unique and fun math option for your homeschool.

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