Yes, you read that right.
I went into Spunky’s room a while ago and discovered that she was not alone in her bed. There was someone else there with her, and that someone was a he.
Other than the fact that he was in my daughter’s bed, it is difficult to find fault with him as an individual. Not only is he extremely talented and humorous, but he is also awfully cute. In addition, he helps Spunky with her mathematics problems and has a stable job to boot. Still, Spunky is a little young to be so taken with someone, and as a parent I might be concerned…
…Might be, that is, if I didn’t know where he comes from and what his intentions are. You see, his name is Fred Gauss and he is not only a brilliant mathematician but also the main character in Stanley Schmidt’s mathematics series Life of Fred. Did I forget to mention that he happens to be two-dimensional and 5 years old?
Fred is a gifted professor at Kittens University who teaches children that math is something people use every day in everyday life. As he goes about his daily life in the series, he encounters mathematical problems that he needs to solve (This is the part where the thinking caps go on and brains are stretched). Fred’s students must use their noggins to thoroughly comprehend how Fred solves the problems he finds so that they can solve problems of their own. They are not given worksheets of near-identical questions to complete but rather assignments which target their ability to understand and apply what they have learned. Only true comprehension enables a student to proceed from one section in each textbook to the next.
Which brings me back to Fred…
…and a bed.
My Spunky started Life of Fred Fractions right after we received it and was so taken with the storyline that she couldn’ t put the text down – even at night when she went to bed. After two days of carrying Fred around with her everywhere, Spunky proudly announced that she was ready for the next book (she passed Fractions with flying colors). As of right now, she is working on the third book in the series, Pre-Algebra with Biology. I couldn’t be happier. Not only is Spunky learning challenging math and enjoying it, but she is also learning parts of many other subjects since Life of Fred covers more than just mathematics. Entertaining schoolwork that doesn’t skimp on difficulty – for math, what could be better than that?