Life of Fred Review – Math and Language Arts Homeschool Curriculum

After years of researching math curricula, I’ve found something special. Life of Fred isn’t just about math; it’s a game-changer, especially for kids not loving math or those needing a bit of extra help. In this Life of Fred review, we’ll uncover the story behind their language arts books and answer the big question: Can Life of Fred make homeschooling math an exciting adventure? Let’s find out together!

Rebbecca Devitt

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want to do my course on how to homeschool, click here.

We’ll also delve into the pros and cons of the program and families this will suit or not suit.

Let’s go.

LIfe of Fred homeschool curriculum Review. A story style math curriculum for homeschooling. Offering language arts as well as math, chemistry, and more.

Affiliate links are used in this review.

What is Life of Fred Math?

Life of Fred is a cool way to learn math and other subjects at home.

It’s like a storybook series that teaches math from kindergarten to high school.

The main character is Fred, a smart five-year-old who’s a math teacher at Kittens University. The books are fun and teach math as part of Fred’s adventures.

It’s great for kids in 1st-4th grade, starting with the book “Apples.”

Parents like it when teaching math is tricky, and kids find it tough.

Unlike regular math lessons, Life of Fred uses stories instead of boring workbooks.

There are no toys involved, and the lessons are short. The stories make math practical and easy to understand.

You only need to buy it once because the books aren’t meant to be used up. They’re good for all your kids.

It’s not super hard, and there aren’t too many questions or lessons. Some like that, especially if you do school in only four days a week. Others might want more lessons. But overall, Life of Fred makes learning math fun and different.

Pros and Cons

LOF is much loved by many people around the world, but like any homeschool curriculum, you need to weigh its pros and cons.

Let’s take a look.


Some things people who review Life of Fred LOVE include:

  1. Designed for Students to Use Independently: The author wrote the series to be used by children who can read the books independently, reducing the time parents need to be present.
  2. Fun Learning with Stories: Fred’s adventures make math fun and easy to understand, creating a positive learning experience.
  3. Good for Different Ages: Works for kids from kindergarten to high school, saving money for families with more than one child.
  4. Real-Life Math: Shows how math is used in real life through stories, making it practical and interesting.
  5. Reuseable Books: You can use the books for all your kids, so you don’t have to buy new ones each time.
  6. Short Lessons: Lessons are short, which is good for keeping kids focused and not overwhelmed.
  7. No Setup Hassle: It’s an open-and-go curriculum, meaning parents don’t have to spend a lot of time planning.
  8. Gifted and Special Needs Suitable: Lessons can be used to help gifted students or slowed down to be used by special needs students.


  1. Not Many Review Questions: Some lessons may lack enough practice questions in the books for a thorough understanding. The books are supposed to be repeated up to three times, but I suspect children might get bored with the continual repetition of the material can only imagine my child would be enormously bored if they had to repeat it more than once. BUT LOF publishes additional practice books for extra work.
  2. Lessons Might Be Too Short: While short lessons can be good, some kids may find them too brief, wanting more depth in each session.
  3. No Hands-On Stuff: It doesn’t use things like toys to help understand math, which could be a downside for some learners.
  4. Not for Every Learning Style: Some kids might not like learning math through stories and prefer a more traditional approach.
  5. Concerns About Body Image: Some parents feel there is body shaming in the storyline.
  6. Author’s Values Might Clash: The author promotes screen-free ideas and healthy eating, which might not align with everyone’s beliefs and practices. Also, it is considered by some as ‘preachy’.
  7. Might Take Longer Than Expected: If you don’t get the right level of books, it may lead to more frustration and for lessons to take longer.

Families This Will/Won’t Suit

This curriculum is a real hit with some families but doesn’t suit others.

Families This Will Suit Best

These include:

  • Families seeking an engaging and unconventional approach to homeschooling.
  • Children who find traditional math education challenging or less enjoyable.
  • Parents appreciating a narrative-driven curriculum with entertaining stories.
  • Families with multiple children, as Life of Fred is non-consumable.
  • Those who prefer a less structured approach to learning.
  • Children who enjoy the integration of various subjects into their education.

The program is a wonderful fit for so many homeschool families.

Families It Won’t Suit:

These include:

  • Families looking for a more traditional or structured math curriculum.
  • Those desiring a program with a daily lesson structure and extensive review questions.
  • Families with children requiring a highly intensive or accelerated math education.
  • Those preferring a curriculum with a heavy focus on hands-on manipulatives.
  • Parents seeking a comprehensive and in-depth approach to advanced learning in math.

Weigh up whether this is the program for you. It certainly won’t suit everyone.

Life of Fred Book Order

The first book in the Life of Fred series is Apples. It is followed by a number of other books in alphabetical order.

Elementary Life of Fred Book Order- Apples, Butterflies, Cats etc

The first 10 books you can buy in a series of books are:

  • Apples (Grades 1-4),
  • Butterflies (Grades 1-4),
  • Cats (Grades 1-4),
  • Dogs (Grades 1-4),
  • Edgewood (Grades 2-5),
  • Farming (Grades 2-5),
  • Goldfish (Grades 2-5),
  • Honey (Grades 2-5),
  • Ice Cream (Grades 2-5) and,
  • Jellybeans (Grades 2-5).

This is the Life of Fred Elementary Series.

Life of Fred Apples

Let’s take a look at what you get in the very first book to help you decide if this is for your family.

Life of Fred’s first book, ‘Apples, covers various topics; the book includes lessons on:

  • numbers that add to 7,
  • circles,
  • ellipses,
  • reading the clock,
  • days of the week, and
  • more.

What sets this curriculum apart is its unique incorporation of real-world knowledge alongside mathematical concepts.

In ‘Apples’, students not only learn about mathematical operations like counting by fives, solving equations, and understanding geometric shapes but also explore practical lessons such as:

  • dressing for cold weather,
  • the distinction between herbivores and carnivores, and even
  • historical anecdotes about figures like Archimedes and events like the Titanic.

The textbook, containing 128 pages, is designed to be read by the student, and its non-consumable nature allows for answers to be recorded separately.

With 19 lessons, ‘Apples’ will be completed in approximately 3 to 4 weeks, laying a solid foundation for the subsequent Life of Fred curriculum, such as ‘Butterflies’.

Middle School Life of Fred Books

These are the books available for grades 4-6.

  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Mineshaft

Children can use these as soon as they’ve mastered the elementary books.

Pre-High School Life of Fred Books

These are books for grades 6-8. They teach more about decimals and fractions:

  • Life of Fred: Fractions (workbook here)
  • Life of Fred: Decimals and Percents
  • Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 0 with Physics
  • Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology
  • Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics

Keep in mind that additional practice workbooks are available for most titles.

High School

These books are for high school (grades 9-12) and can be used after the pre-high school ones have been conquered:

  • Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra
  • Life of Fred: Advanced Algebra
  • Life of Fred: Geometry
  • Life of Fred: Trigonometry

Additional practice workbooks are available for most titles.

Buying Options

You can buy these in 10 book packs, 4 book packs or individually. Each book will last around 3 weeks. But they’re designed to be read and re-read.

If you’re going to use it as an elementary curriculum for math, it makes sense to buy the 10-book series.

Also, you can make the curriculum more complete by purchasing their additional practice books that help kids practice more problems than are in the books alone.

Is Life of Fred Enough for a Homeschool Math Curriculum?

While Life of Fred adds fun to learning, it might not be enough as a complete math curriculum.

Two main reasons stand out: there are too few lessons (less than three books per year for grades 1-4) and the lessons lack depth, introducing concepts but not exploring them further or providing enough review.

So, while it has its place in homeschooling, it’s recommended to use Life of Fred alongside other resources for a more comprehensive math education.

Indeed, Life of Fred itself recommends using its books in conjunction with other math books.

But, You Should Still Use It…Here’s Why…

While Life of Fred may not serve as a standalone math curriculum, it can still play a valuable role as a math supplement.

Its engaging stories can show frustrated kids that math can be fun, making it an excellent math warm-up.

Additionally, the curriculum is useful for teaching practical uses of math and can serve as a summer program to keep skills sharp.

Therefore, when used in conjunction with other resources, Life of Fred contributes positively to a well-rounded math education.

Life of Fred Language Arts Books

Life of Fred, known for its math curriculum, also offers a series of language arts books tailored for high school students.

These books, written by Dr. Stanley Schmidt, aim to enhance oral and written communication skills in an engaging manner.

The four books are:

These are presented in a novel style with a humorous storyline. They cover more material than traditional classroom settings, incorporating various subjects such as geography, history, music, and science.

Designed for high school studies, the Life of Fred Language Arts books provide short daily lessons with about four pages of narrative detailing Fred’s adventures.

Each lesson includes a “Your Turn to Play” section with thought-provoking questions.

While the books make language arts enjoyable, they are structured to prompt critical thinking rather than simply providing answers, encouraging active engagement with the material.

Other Books by Life of Fred

LOF also teaches Chemistry and Financial Education.

How Much Does the Life of Fred Math Curriculum Cost?

Cost of Life of Fred is about $200 for the first series of the elementary curriculum which covers 10 books. This will cover you for around grades K to 5.

Language Arts series will set you back around $120.

Is Life of Fred Accredited?

No. Life of Fred isn’t accredited. Accreditation is only possible if the curriculum company is attached to an accredited school such as:

Although accreditation isn’t necessary, some parents like to have it. Check out this page for accredited homeschool curriculum options.

Become an Expert at Homeschooling!

Want to become an expert at homeschooling? Well, you could take years to do it, or you could do the Homeschool Parenting Program.

This affordable, online course for new homeschool parents will teach you all the important things you need to know about home education including choosing homeschool curriculum and organizing your homeschool.

If you don’t want to commit to a homeschool course, SUBSCRIBE to my informative Youtube Channel, How to Homeschool here

Or you can look at these helpful articles:

You’re sure to find something you love here.

The Bottom Line…

As our review unfolds, it’s not just about math and language arts; it’s about a unique homeschooling adventure. Life of Fred steps into the spotlight in the quest for an engaging curriculum. While the question of its sufficiency lingers, my research suggests it’s a hidden gem—especially for those with math-resistant learners. Life of Fred promises an education and an exciting journey through the realms of math and language arts in the homeschooling universe.

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Rebecca Devitt

Most adults don't particularly want to relive their schooling experience on a daily basis. They would gladly move on to a new life devoid of homework and teachers. Very, very few adults will passionately blog about their schooling some 15 years after graduating. This makes Rebecca Devitt somewhat unique. As it happens, she was homeschooled. And she loved it. Still does. And she wishes every kid could get a taste of homeschooling at its very best. Her website How Do I Homeschool, is a springboard for parents to see what a life of homeschooling could be for both them & their children. When she's not blogging Rebecca is still homeschooling her-adult-self by learning Latin, growing weird vegetables and most importantly looking after her two children Luke & Penny. She has a husband Tristan and is a participant at Wollongong Baptist Church. She's also written a book about why parents should homeschool called 'Why on Earth Homeschool'.

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