Have you ever cried over math homework? Helped a child who was crying over math homework? Ugh, it's awful. Sadly, I've done both. Story problems made me tear up every time. And trigonometry, well--I may as well have been six feet under in that class. Seriously. Maybe eight feet under. My whole life, I've only ever cheated on a test once, and it was on a math test (shh!). So how can we help those who aren't naturally drawn to math?
Enter Life of Fred by Stanley F. Schmidt. Fred is a two dimensional, five year old math genius/college professor who stars in a series of chapter books all about math. Kind of crazy, right? Crazy awesome. As in my-son-took-these-books-to-bed-at-night-with-him kind of crazy awesome.
This series is great if you:
-want to lighten attitudes about math
-want to help kids "get" a concept they are struggling with at school
-want to supplement your child's math class at home after school or keep up skills during the summer.
-want to teach how math works everyday around us
-if you homeschool and are looking at different options
-want a non-threatening, easy way to get kids to enjoy math
These books are written in short chapter story form, where Fred uses math in his every day life. Each chapter teaches a concept and then there are some practice problems at the end for you to solve. The books in the series at in alphabetical order, so the pre-k book is named "Apples", the next is "Butterflies" and the series extends all the way to Calculus.
This series may be best introduced to younger kids. My older ones thought they were a bit cheesy, but you know what, if it works, who cares?! A math book that isn't dry and makes people cry is a total win in my book.
These books aren't super cheap, and they can be hard to find unless you know where to look. I've found that the best place is Rainbow Resource, but you can also find them used on Amazon, eBay and other places. If you decide to try them, good luck! Let me know if your kids take them to bed, too!
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