Even if a child breezes past arithmetic, multiplication can be one of the biggest hurdles for a young learner. Teaching multiplication is a little more abstract than addition and subtraction, so learners get stuck with a bigger question, “when am I going to use this in real life?”
But fear not – there’s a solution. If you’re already part of the Educents community, you probably heard about the insanely popular Life of Fred series and how it has worked wonders with struggling math students. Why is the series popular? Because the hilarious stories apply math and science concepts in real world situations.
Life of Fred weaves a variety of academic concepts while telling the fictional story of the life of Fred Gauss. Fred is a child math genius who finds ways to connect the strange happenings of his life with lessons about math. As you follow the story of Fred, he introduces more and more advanced math topics. Fred arrives to multiplication concepts in the end of the book titled Farming and the beginning of the book titled Goldfish.
Fred’s Silly, Real Life Scenarios
Fred’s lessons always start off with a practical lesson. In the photo below, you can see an example of how Fred uses multiplication to figure out a relatable scenario in his life.
As the story progresses, the scenarios get wackier and more fun. In Goldfish, Fred visits a pet store and browses, looking for the perfect pet. At one point he is offered three lambs for purchase. Here’s how Fred calculates the total cost of his purchase. Notice how Fred tackles the problem in three ways – through the story, through numbers, and through an explanation of the equation.
One of the best parts about teaching multiplication with Life of Fred is how quickly the lessons can lead into each other. Instead of learning about multiplication and drilling that in with worksheets, Fred’s real-world scenarios continue.
Here’s another example from the Goldfish book. Fred buys some goldfish from the store and then goes shopping for an aquarium. Now Fred must take his multiplication skills and calculate the area of the box to see if it’s big enough for his fish to fit in. (Notice Fred incorporating geometry concepts too!)
More Than a Storybook
Each chapter in the Life of Fred books have a summary at the end. In the summary, children are given a small number of questions that they can use to make sure they have mastered the test material. Fred works best as a math supplement for homeschoolers or parents wanting to develop math skills, but it really does feel like a full package.
Why do thousands of parents and children love these books? Fred not only excels at teaching multiplication, but he’s funny too! Here’s a passage where Fred talks about ducks. It’s light, funny and adds a bit of vocabulary as well.
“Even the tears of that duck were a lie. Ducks don’t have lacrimal (LACK-reh-mel) glands like humans do. The lacrimal glands produce tears. If your baby brother was crying a lot, you could say, “What’ lacrimation!” and tell your friends that he is the world’s best lacrimator.”
Parents Love the Fred Books
These are just a couple examples of how Life of Fred works by teaching multiplication using real life scenarios. If you want to hear more about Fred, check out the dozens of raving reviews from parents who use the Fred books to strengthen their children’s math skills.
My son HATES math! Not anymore! I heard about these books from another homeschooling mom and decided to give them a try. My son LOVES them! He comes to ME now asking for Fred!”
From the start, my kids have been thrilled with LOF! I can’t believe how quickly they have gone through them! The information is presented in an easy-to-understand story format, so they learn almost effortlessly.”
After years of “drill and kill” math, my son and daughter are so excited to have Fred as a part of our family!”