What Life of Fred Taught ME This Week

Em loves Life of Fred. I mentioned in my last post that, after seeing it scheduled on her weekly checklist only twice, she insisted we read five chapters each week, instead of the required two.

When asked why she likes Life of Fred, Em answered, “Because it has math but it is also a story and you do time problems (reading time on the clock) and word problems and it’s funny.”

I like it because it isn’t boring her to death, it introduces a great number of concepts (incorporating history and geography and even language lessons seamlessly into the story) and is setting the stage for higher math skills. It does contain a wee bit of faith-based training in it “Fred prayed” or snippets of hymns, but it isn’t overly religious.

Here are some of the things I learned this week from Life of Fred…

Obligate Carnivores

I had not heard this term before, but according to Life of Fred, cats are obligate carnivores, in that they must eat protein. This made me re-think the kibble they are currently eating, which has corn and wheat products in it (as well as protein). Our dogs are carnivores, but not obligate carnivores.

Pacific Ocean

I did not know that Ferdinand Magellan had named the Pacific Ocean pacific (or peaceful) after emerging from a nerve-wracking 38 days traveling through dangerous seas around the tip of South America.

I Guess That Makes Me a Mathematician Too!

Late last week we were reading away in Life of Fred when it said, “Fred was a mathematician, which meant he loved patterns.” I took this opportunity to point out that I too enjoyed seeing patterns, which meant that I too was a mathematician.

Em, who has repeatedly said she “hates math” when particularly frustrated with Khan Academy chimed in, “I guess that makes me a mathematician too, because I like patterns too, Mama!”

Cardinal Versus Ordinal

I am intrigued by the fact that Life of Fred has not dumbed down anything, still using these great big words and explaining in a simple no-nonsense way some pretty big concepts that you usually don’t see introduced until the higher grades.

In this case, the terms cardinal and ordinal, which I now understand well.

Obviously, I’m not the only one learning here. Em is delighted with Life of Fred. Today she insisted on TWO chapters, literally begging me for the second. Math done right…who can argue with that?

In about a month we will need to buy more books. Right now I have the first four and we are 2/3 of the way through Cats, the third book. They are pricey, but man oh man, are they worth it!




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