Welcome to My Greatest Worry
Being a traditional homeschooler, I struggle with making learning fun and making sure my children actually have a solid education. I want my kids to be able to go to the best colleges – Smith, Williams, Amherst – but I want them to have a choice. And if they are going to college, then they need to be able to take tests, be disciplined in their studies, and sit still for more than two minutes! But how do I engage my kids while still giving them a great foundation? And does it have to be boring?
Introducing My Greatest Help – Life of Fred Chemistry
I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Life of Fred Book series in Math. They teach real material in a way that kids understand. So, when I got the opportunity to review the Life of Fred Chemistry book, I leapt at the opportunity!
Chemistry – it’s hard. Frankly, the math is a bit abstract. I have a MS in Molecular and Cellular biology, so naturally I was skeptical. I had my husband review the book first. He has his PhD in Analytical Chemistry and is pretty busy with work, but he thought it important enough to take a week to look at the text. His thoughts:
“It reads like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but the chemistry is solid.”
He thought it would be perfect for our kids. And he was right. Life of Fred Chemistry is solid science presented in a way that’s understandable – not intimidating – and fun. You learn math, history, and science, all through the experiences and teaching of Fred.
Just think of it. It’s such an exciting way to learn!
How to Use Life of Fred Chemistry
The material in this Life of Fred Chemistry book is so open, it leaves a lot of room for both group and independent projects that explore and engage the mind further. Here are several different ways we used the Life of Fred Chemistry book:
- Book Work – For me, I don’t do arts and crafts. Instead, we do book work and experiments. We used the book like a text, going through it – beginning to end – and answering the review questions in the back of each chapter.
- Branching Off – Another powerful approach was using the book as a branching off point. When they talked about an interesting topic – like the periodic table – we explored it in more depth. We accomplished this using flash cards and seeking out associated texts.
- Lab Experiments or Lapbooks – One favorite of the kids is to do simple lab experiments or lapbooks. These projects help illustrate new knowledge in a tangible way. Plus there are many resources on the internet where you can find effortless experiments to perform along with other great resources for homeschoolers.
For me, the number one advantage to homeschooling is getting a better understanding of the material. We are able to look at it from a different way. We can choose our own curriculum – a curriculum that best fits the needs of my kids – and I want one that’s going to give them the tools to excel in any subject while preparing them for college. The Life of Fred books are such a fantastic and exciting way to learn that will engage even the most skeptical student. Better yet, this is a valuable resource for all ages: teachers, parents, librarians, and students alike. As my hubby put it best – Life of Fred makes science attainable for everyone!
About the All-Star Blogger
Formerly trained in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Lisa Nelson is currently a certified wedding planner. She’s a mother and homeschooler of three beautiful children and loves to share helpful family tips! She blogs about family, health, motherhood, homeschooling, and more at The Squishable Baby.