Guest Author - Lorel Shea
Stanley F. Schmidt is an eagle scout, who sings tenor, has donated over 37 gallons of blood, starred in his own cable television show, and raised chickens. He's also a former college professor with a Phd in mathematics. Dr. Schmidt has put much of his amazing array of knowledge into use in his books, the little known Life of Fred math textbook series.
These books are quietly catching on with gifted homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike. Orders have gone out to formal institutions as well. There's a very good reason for this; Life of Fred books are simply incredible. Each textbook shares a few days in the life of young Fred Gauss, a child prodigy who teaches at the mythical Kittens University. As the student follows Fred on his adventures, math problems just happen to crop up around him. The amusing stories keep the reader engaged and interested. The story narrator teaches vocabulary and inserts clever, often tongue-in-cheek commentary at the bottom of some pages. An example is, “What they are doing is nefarious. This means very wicked.”
Very clear and direct explanations make it easy for the reader to follow Fred's step by step solutions. The emphasis is on learning through reading. “Your Turn to Play” sections at the end of each chapter allow the student to practice applying the methods as taught by Fred. Additionally, every 4-5 chapters, there is a “bridge” or “city” of ten problems that must be solved. It is suggested that the student should not move on until they have mastered the material, with at least nine of ten (90%) problems correct. There are five sets of similar but unique bridges/cities to provide five opportunities for a demonstration of mastery.
The textbooks in the series are as follows:
Life of Fred: Fractions
Life of Fred: Decimals and Percents
Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra
Life of Fred: Advanced Algebra
Life of Fred: Geometry
Life of Fred: Trigonometry
Life of Fred: Calculus
Life of Fred: Statistics
There are also companion books which are designed specifically for homeschoolers, classroom teachers who want preset lesson plans, or those who want extra practice on a given subject. These companion guides are available for beginning algebra, advanced algebra, and trigonometry.
Both my math lover and my math-disliker have enjoyed the Life of Fred books and begged me for more ! They are available for direct purchase and are very reasonably priced. http://www.stanleyschmidt.com/FredGauss/index2.html