Extra Activities for Life of Fred: Edgewood

As I wrote in a previous blog post, our family is really loving the Life of Fred math books. I spend lots of time preparing the lessons in advance so that I can give my children extra activities along with the chapters they read. I’m thankful that with a little time and effort on my part, I’ve been able to come up with lots of fun enrichment activities to go along with each chapter we’ve read so far. I decided to begin compiling all the resources I’ve found into easy-to-read blog posts that will break each book down, chapter by chapter, so that others can utilize these resources as well. Since we began with Life of Fred: Edgewood (book 5 in the 10-book elementary series), I am going to start there. (My 5-year-old will soon be starting right from the beginning with Life of Fred: Apples, so in time I should be able to have Extra Activities blog posts for every single book!) I hope you’re able to find these resources as helpful as we have!


Chapter 1: Wednesday Morning
– In this chapter we learn it is Fred’s 1855th day of life. Just for fun, we used this printable worksheet to figure out how old my daughter is in years>days>hours>minutes. (I had her do the multiplication for the first two, and for the rest we used a calculator.)
– The chapter also introduces quadrilaterals, and this fun quadrilateral recognition worksheet goes perfectly with it. (You can have your student color each of the kites corresponding with a color assigned within the word bank.)

Chapter 2: Meeting Troubles
– Right angles are discussed in this chapter, so I found this right angles identification worksheet.
– Fred encounters an announcement in the KITTENS University newspaper stating that the President of KITTENS was on a skiing trip. Using this snow theme, I decided to incorporate a little basic division practice using this ice-themed worksheet.

Chapter 3: Facing Your Fears
– In this chapter, we learn about functions (rules) and have to try and figure out the functions of a few problems. These input and output worksheets are great supplements to help identify functions.

Chapter 4: Where’s Edgewood?
– At the very beginning of the chapter, Fred mentions the lyrics “on the shores of Tripoli.” These lyrics come from the U.S. Marine Hymn. I decided that my kiddo should hear it, so I looked up the song on YouTube and here it is. Math should sometimes include music, right? 🙂
– We used our globe to look at the various places mentioned, such as Tripoli, Lybia, the Red Sea, and Scotland.
– We are introduced to the concept of median numbers (such as median income) in this chapter. I found this great worksheet for calculating medians. It’s pretty basic, and comes with an answer page!
– Lastly, there’s a question at the very end of the chapter reiterating the definition of ordinal numbers, so I found this fun and colorful ordinal vs cardinal worksheet particularly helpful!

Chapter 5: On the Bus
– I felt that this particular chapter had a lot of information to absorb and has plenty of questions to answer at the end, so I felt that the chapter alone was sufficient. I decided it was time to switch things up a little bit and have some fun instead of doing more worksheets. I found this blank bus coloring page and let my daughter get creative and decorate her own bus.

Chapter 6: Fame
– One of the problems at the end of the chapter has the student draw a bar graph showing some facts. I found this blank bar graph template to be helpful for that. (I saved the photo to my computer and then adjusted the size before printing so it was large enough to fill the paper.)
– I found a fun bar graph worksheet about the planets for my kiddo to do, since she’s all about the solar system right now.

Chapter 7: Reading on the Bus
– In this chapter, we learn about comparing number values (greater than, less than, or equal to). My daughter has been needing a refresher on basic fractions, so I found this helpful comparison worksheet generator that generates custom comparison worksheets for fractions up to twelfths and made my own worksheet. (I chose to go all the way up to eighths.)
– To make the fractions a little easier for her to visualize, I found this fraction circles blank template. I printed it out and then put it into a sheet protector so that she can draw the various fractions for comparison with a white board marker and then erase it and do it again for each of the comparison equations.

Chapter 8: Bus Stop
– This chapter is all about telling time. Naturally, a telling-time worksheet is a perfect pairing.
– For those more advanced, there also some great time-lapsed printable worksheets here and here.

Chapter 9: Into Missouri
– This is another one of those chapters I feel has plenty of work to concentrate on. One thing helpful is to use Math-U-See blocks or Cuisenaire Rods to calculate the various answers to question number 3 (“List all pairs of numbers that add to 8.”)
– My daughter enjoys the silly math poems. For a bit of fun, I found these math jokes for kids for us to read together.

Chapter 10: A View From the Bus
– This chapter introduces some pretty big concepts, such as income taxes and percentages. It also delves into addition with regrouping (a.k.a. carrying). This is something my child already knows how to do. It doesn’t hurt to have a refresher, however, so I went to education.com and printed up some addition with regrouping worksheets. (I tend to lean toward the colorful worksheets as they are less intimidating by taking the focus off all the numbers.)
– If you’d like to delve further into the concept of percentages, there are some great worksheets here.

Chapter 11: A Glass of Polka Dots
– Chapter 11 talks about polka dots and patterns. I found this simple “spot the pattern” worksheet that is simple, but still amusing.
– Play coins are every helpful for tactile learners (like my daughter). You can rearrange the “polka dots” (coins) like Fred does in the story.
– As mentioned in Chapter 9, using math blocks can be helpful in answering some of the questions.
– This chapter talks a little bit more about percentages, so the percentage worksheets I mentioned in Chapter 10 can continue to come in handy. (Note: from here on out, my child will do 2 of these worksheets a day to keep up with the concepts.)
– Here’s a great game for teaching percentages.

Chapter 12: Sharing
– Utilizing a white board or a blank piece of paper is a good idea for this chapter. When Fred mentions that “Fred” has 4 letters and “Gauss” has 5 letters, then compares it to the vending machines at the university (“4 on one side and 5 on the other”), you can draw on the whiteboard/paper and show 4 squares on one side and 5 squares on the other to represent the vending machines on either side of the hall. Then your child can write F-R-E-D and G-A-U-S-S into the squares to see a hands-on working model of 4+5=9.
– You can then help your child calculate how many letters total are in his or her own name.
– This fractions of an hour worksheet ties in perfectly with question 3 in “Your Turn to Play.”

Chapter 13: Flying
– The bar graph template I linked to back in Chapter 6 is helpful for doing problem number 5.
– For this particular chapter, I felt that drawing out the bar graph and continuing to to the worksheets I mentioned in chapter 11 was a sufficient amount of work.
– Just for fun, this YouTube video of stunt planes performing tricks is perfect for going along with this chapter.

Chapter 14: Food and Warmth
– The questions at the end of this chapter are about asking what half of a number is (e.g. what is half of 100?). Another way of looking at it is dividing the numbers by two. I found a dividing by twos worksheet to help reinforce that concept.

Chapter 15: Errors
– Part of the chapter briefly touches on constellations versus asterisms. I decided to take that a bit farther, since *I* didn’t even know what the difference between constellations and asterisms are! I looked it up here then explained it to my child. I found two dot-to-dot worksheets that show the difference. You see, an asterism is a grouping of stars that is not recognized as a constellation whereas a constellation is a larger group of stars that created a shape. I printed this connect-the-dots worksheet of Ursa Major and then this connect-the-dots worksheet of the Big Dipper so that I can point out how the Big Dipper is actually located inside of Ursa Major. (If you’re not a member of that website you can save the thumbnail and then print it 200% larger for a good sized worksheet). Here is a great photo that shows Ursa Major in its entirety so that they can see why it’s called Ursa Major. All in all, it was a fun way to tie astronomy into our math lesson!

Chapter 16: Warm
– These playing card math worksheets tie in perfectly with the math game that Fred watches the family play. (The worksheets are free with a membership to the site, which is also free.)

Chapter 17: A Family
– This chapter brings back the concept of guessing the math function, so I used this “function machine” worksheet as a little more practice.

Chapter 18: To Edgewood
– This chapter talks about median averages again, so I located another median average worksheet to go along with it.

Chapter 19: To KITTENS
– In this final chapter, there’s a brief reference to Fred paying for his flight home with eight five-dollar bills. I figured I’d take the opportunity to work on some money math. We have play money here, so I let my child use the money itself to help work through the problems in these money math worksheets.

And that’s the end of Life of Fred: Edgewood! Stay tuned for more as we work through the LOF books. 🙂

Product Review: Life of Fred

Math has always been a struggle for my eldest child. We’ve been using Math-U-See for the past couple of years. It worked pretty well in the beginning because my child is a very tactile (hands-on) learner. The math blocks were perfect for helping her visualize the problems and fully understand the whys and hows of the math she was doing. Unfortunately, after a couple of years she became very tired of the pages upon pages of worksheets. She began to become very frustrated by it and in time it turned into a battle every single time she had to do math. Consequently, she fell behind in the math department. (Fortunately, for several years we were ahead of the game, so at this point she’s really only about 6 months behind.) I finally realized that we were at a breaking point and something needed to give. We needed a new approach and a way to make things fun, stat. After many hours of research, I decided upon Life of Fred.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or in any way compensated for writing this review. I purchased the product myself and am freely choosing to review the product because of our personal success in using it.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll get on with my review! Life of Fred is a revolutionary approach to math. It’s basically an ongoing story that tells the story of Fred Gauss’ life. We started the series with Edgewood (book 5 in the 10-book elementary series.) What we have learned so far about Fred is that he’s a precocious and peculiarly small 5-year-old who is a math professor at KITTENS University. He, along with his doll and best friend Kingie, experience all sorts of adventures where they are constantly met with mathematical problems that need solving. It’s very silly and lots of fun to read! They also successfully manage to sneak math into it. My daughter LOVES it. It’s been a long time since she was last able to do math with excitement rather than tears. Wow! Unlike other math books, Life of Fred doesn’t constantly harp on one math technique until my daughter is ready to pull her hair out. It keeps moving at the pace of life, which keeps my child interested and engaged. On the practical side, I love that it’s not a consumable workbook, so it can be used over and over for all of my children. All you need is a spiral notebook and a pencil and you’re good to go!

My one and only complaint is that there are only a handful of actual enrichment problems with each chapter in the elementary series. (It is my understanding that is not the case in the more advanced books.) For some children this approach may work, but my child needs a little practice for the sake of reviews, as well as hands-on ways of applying what she’s learned. For us, extra supplementation is needed. The good news is that we have so far been able to find all the supplementation needed for free online with relatively little research on my part. It’s actually been a fun challenge for me to come up with creative ways to implement what we’ve read about in each chapter. (I will be beginning a new series shortly with links to all the FREE resources I’ve utilized as we’ve gone through the various books. I’m beginning my 5-year-old on the Life of Fred: Apples book – the first book in the elementary series – so I should be able to do a post for every single book in the series! Stay tuned! )

All in all, I must say that Life of Fred is a total WIN. It’s everything I hoped it would be, and the only drawback is an easily surmountable hurdle. For anyone who has a child struggling with math or needing a fun way of learning it, this is the resource for you!

And, just for fun, here’s a photo of Fred. 🙂

lifeoffredEnjoy your math adventures!

Resources for a FREE Shel Silverstein Author Study

Our homeschool is gearing up for a new author study, so I thought I would share some free resources I have compiled. I hope you and your children enjoy this study as much as I know we will!


I Could Never Homeschool My Kid(s)

“I don’t know how you homeschool moms do it; I could never homeschool my kids.”

As one of “those homeschool moms,” this is something I hear a lot, and the more times I hear it the more it gets under my skin. I feel like that statement makes us sound like either a bunch of weirdos, or super-human mothers who possess some level of talent that normal mothers are lacking, when in fact neither of those assertions are true. The time has come for me to set the record straight.

First of all, homeschooling parents are not weirdos. We are parents just like you who love our kids and want what’s best them. We have all arrived at the decision to homeschool by way of different paths. Some choose homeschool because their children have a special need that cannot be met in traditional school environments. Some choose homeschooling for medical or religious reasons. There are some families that do not live in a good school district, and its safer for them to educate their children at home. Some families find themselves traveling or moving a lot because of a job, and strategically homeschooling makes more sense rather than constantly uprooting their children and transferring them from one school to another. The list of reasons goes on and on. I believe the same can be said of parents who choose to send their children to a public/private/charter school. I’m certain that the list of reasons parents choose to send their kids to school is just as extensive as the list of reasons why homeschoolers choose to teach their kids at home.

That brings me to my next point: we are not Super Parents. We do not have a special gift of patience that allows us to be around our children 24/7 without ever losing our temper. We all have moments when we question our decision to homeschool. We all worry and have anxiety sometimes. There is absolutely nothing that I go through as a homeschool mom that is unique to any other parent on the face of the earth. Home educators do their best to teach their kids the same way all parents have been teaching their children from the moment they were born. It is for this reason that I believe that all parents are capable of homeschooling. When people tell me that they could never homeschool because they butt heads with their kids too much, I literally laugh out loud. I butt heads with my oldest on pretty much a daily basis, but that doesn’t prevent me from being able to homeschool! Some say they could never do it because they can’t afford homeschooling, but there are more than enough free resources out there that it can easily be done for less than what most parents spend on school supplies and a new school wardrobe each year. (If you’re interested, I address a lot more of the “reasons why I could never homeschool” here.)

So, let’s all be honest with one another, shall we? When you say you could never homeschool your children, let’s be real and admit that what you’re really saying is that you don’t want to homeschool. Not being able to do something and not wanting to do something are two very different things.

If you have any inclination whatsoever to educate your children at home, then I promise you that you are already equipped with everything you need to do it, and to do it well! 

And for a little humor, I am including my all-time favorite homeschool meme. I love it because it’s just about the closest thing to reality in this house. Enjoy! 🙂


Resources for a FREE Caps for Sale Book Study

Recently, I was looking at Amazon’s list of 100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime and came across the book Caps for Sale by Esphyr SlobodkinaI immediately remembered reading that book in my childhood. I recalled what a favorite it was, so I decided to order a copy. Then I got to thinking that it could be super fun to do a book study with this one, so I got busy searching for free resources! I compiled a list of everything I found, and now I am sharing it with you all. I hope you have as much fun with this as I know we will!

Our Favorite iPad and iPhone Apps: Educational and Just for Fun

Many parents make use of technology to entertain children, to make learning fun, and to introduce their children to technology. I am definitely one of those moms! Here’s a list of our family’s tried-and-true favorite educational and just-for-fun apps for the iPad and iPhone. (I also plan on creating a list for Android apps, so stay tuned!) These are mostly geared toward Pre-K and Kindergarden ages. Most of them are free, and those that aren’t are generally fairly inexpensive. Enjoy!

Annie iPad

Educational Apps:

Just-for-Fun Apps:

This Breaks My Heart

I came across a video shared on my Facebook newsfeed today. If you haven’t seen it, or don’t feel like watching it, I can summarize it by saying it’s basically three moms partying at Target after sending their kids off to school for the new school year. The video begins with a mom kissing her daughter goodbye and telling her, “I love you so much!” Yet, she cannot even finish turning around before following it up by mouthing a silent but emphatic, “YES!!!” as her daughter leaves. She then joins two other moms and they head off to Target to celebrate their newfound freedom. 

I may be burned alive at the stake for saying this, but I cannot hold my tongue anymore. Every single year I see my friends counting down until the end of summer break, SO thankful to be getting their “freedom” back. Year after year, parents dread the beginning of summer break and celebrate its end. Worse yet, I know many people who have no problem making sure their children know this as well. They’re basically saying to their kids, “I can’t wait for you to back to school 7+ hours a day, 5 days a week – and I cannot possibly be happier about being rid of you! Hooray!”

Look, I get that having kids is hard. Sometimes these little blessings make us want to rip our hair out. I understand that all parents need breaks from their children for the sake of their sanity. I get that, I do! Please do not think that because I homeschool, I have acquired some magical ability to never get frustrated with my children and never wish I could have a day off. I’m human just like everyone else, and I most definitely do have rough days. My children are also human, and sometimes they fight, whine, complain, bicker, you name it. But you know what? I truly like my kids! Even on their worst days, I have no desire to rid myself of them! I enjoy being around them. I cannot imagine sending my children away for about as long as my husband is gone for work each day and being thrilled about it. I would genuinely miss them.

Maybe I am misinterpreting things, but what I get from all these Facebook posts about the excitement parents have for the beginning of the school year is that they don’t like spending a lot of time with their children, and that’s why they are happy to see them go. Their kids frustrate them and tire them out, so they want the kids out of their hair for as long as possible, as often as possible. It’s that fact that makes me very, very sad. And it makes me especially sad for the children who are made to know it.

Author/Artist Study: Eric Carle

Eric Carle is by far one of our favorite authors – AND he’s a fantastic artist! We recently decided to do a complete author/artist study, and I wanted to share the amazing resources I was able to find while scouring the internet. I hope you and your little ones enjoy this author study as much as we did!


If you have any other resources or experiences to share, please comment. I’d love to hear from you!



How to do Nature Studies with Preschoolers


If you’re new to Charlotte Mason-style education, you may be struggling to figure out where and how to implement Ms. Mason’s principles in real life. One area where I personally have struggled is how to implement the concept of a natural journal with my preschoolers who are not yet reading anything more than three-letter words, and definitely not writing much. I have been on the hunt for resources (and I especially love FREE resources) that will help me teach my younger children how to love journaling about nature. I have since come across some pretty amazing things that I really wanted to share.

I hope you’re able to find some use out of these wonderful FREE resources. Enjoy your nature studies!


Charlotte Mason Artist Study: Edgar Degas

I have been researching and putting another artist study, this time highlighting Edgar Degas. Naturally, his ballerina paintings are a favorite among my daughters. It will be interesting to explore a little deeper into his amazing artwork! Here are some of the free resources I have uncovered. I hope you find them useful!Edgar-Degas


Notebooking pages:

Crafts and Activity Ideas