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This year we have three high schoolers working in Life of Fred math. Our senior is working through Calculus (or that is his plan should chronic illness cooperate), our junior is taking Advanced Algebra, and our freshman is finishing Beginning Algebra. Learning High School Math with Life of Fred is meant to share what that looks like in our homeschool.
Life of Fred High School Courses
Life of Fred high school courses are robust. They tackle difficult material. In fact, during the ACT Math Prep class two of my high schoolers took, the teacher asked who knew a particular concept on the test. Only my kids said they’d learned it and the teacher guessed they were using Life of Fred. He told them that the only kids who have seen the concept are using Life of Fred. Other math program simply don’t teach it and it’s on the ACT. The high school math books are:
- Beginning Algebra
- Advanced Algebra
- Logic– A 12 lesson book, half of which can be done in high school
- Calculus– listed as a college class, many students take high school Calculus
Fred teaches the second half of Algebra before Geometry which is my preference, but it does make things tricky for college entrance exams. However, our experience is that so much advanced content is taught in each book that our teens have had no trouble.
Supplies for Learning High School Math with Life of Fred
You don’t need a lot to get started with Life of Fred Math. These are our “go to” supplies for math.
- Spiral Notebook– keeps math all in once place without losing pages. We can also easily accommodate review. College ruled keeps math problems mostly to one page.
- Engineering Paper– Some of my high schooler love to work on engineering pads. The downside is the loose leaf, but you can easily bind it (with a Pro Click). The upside is the built in graph paper.
- Pencils– Mechanical pencils save a lot of time at the sharpener. Unless they lose their favorite one.
- Good Eraser– I’m not a fan of the write over or smudgy eraser marks. No one is perfect, make sure you have an excellent eraser.
- Calculator– There is great debate over the graphic calculator, but you only really need a scientific calculator. The important thing is to know your calculator well since you will need it on important exams. Cell phones are not allowed into testing situations. It is not necessary to buy the expensive Texas Instrument calculator. We’ve been quite happy with our Casio model.
- Text Book– Your Fred text which is happily non consumable and ready for use by all your homeschooled kids.
- Chalk Board/White Board– My teens love to work problems on the board, explain things on the board, and be taught at the board. It’s a bonus to any learning environment!
Getting Extra Help
Life of Fred is written to the student. That means they read about the math and try the problems. However, it’s inevitable that your student will hit some trouble along the way. In that case:
- Take another look at the problem– I help by having my teens read the problem over and we get started together. A lot of times, they will see their mistake and take off on their own.
- Get another opinion– in the form of a tutorial or video on the internet (think Khan Academy or Crash Course). Sometimes just seeing it explained another way can help to trigger the next step.
- Subscribe to a Math Helper– Like CTC Math or another site where your student can regularly get help on his own.
- Review the instruction– If kids get stuck, they go back and read again. Chances are the second time through, they see what they need to do.
- Work with a mentor– In our house that’s dad. Some teens go through seasons of working with him in the evenings vs working during the day and asking for help at night. If dad isn’t the guy, then find another mentor who loves math.
Organizing Life of Fred High School Math
Part of doing well in math is laying out the work in an organized way. Some students are natural at this and some are not. From an early age, we teach our students the proper method to line up problems.
- Begin with the original problem.
- Write out each step of the problem along the way.
- Circle the answer.
This can be hard for students who think less linearly and for kids who do a lot of math in their head. However, insisting on this method pays off in the long run!
Scheduling Life of Fred High School Math
So, what does a weekly routine with Fred look like? Here are some guidelines we use:
- A one credit math course requires a minimum of 3 hours per week.
- 3 lessons a week is a good number if math lasts an hour and they could be spread out over the week versus doing math only three days.
- Some kids like the four or five day option working for less time more often.
- Some students will retain math better if they are working on a daily basis
- Ninth graders usually need more guidance than older students. The goal is have my high schoolers managing their own work schedule as soon as they are able.
Other High School Math Posts at Blog, She Wrote
Teaching & Mentoring High School Math– How we work with our high schoolers on math in general
Life of Fred Homeschool Math– An explanation of how Fred works at our house at every level and why we choose Fred over other math programs.
The Making of a Wizard & the Crafty Side of Math– How to build confidence for math with your creative student.
Math Journaling in Homeschool Math– Incorporating writing and responses into your math work with any age.