Archive for math

Life of Fred Interview by Dr. Melanie Wilson


Intrigued by a unique way of math learning for children?

Thanks to Dr. Melanie Wilson of the UltimateRadioShow, you can listen to a recent 2014 interview with the author of the quirky math series of books called the “Life of Fred.” Stan Schmidt explains how he got started with creating the books. You can listen to the impact he has had on children based on the fan mail he receives from both children and parents.

They are designed to be self-paced books where the children follow the quirky life of young Fred (who faces surreal situations where, for example, he gets accidentally recruited into the army at the age of 5!) and in the process the readers learn how help Fred solve his problems by using math.

You can also read Melanie’s written review of this very unusual math curriculum on her blog here and how it has worked for her sons:

Review excerpt: “My oldest, an advanced learner, loved it! I often found him chuckling while doing math. I found him motivated to get at least 9 of 10 problems correct so he could pass the “bridge” and not have to do a different set of ten problems. As a psychologist, I thought this approach was genius. Why should a homeschooled student want to complete a page of problems when he would just be faced with another?”

Math by “Militant Glasses” Rob Tarrou

Looking for more math support for your young student? Check out Rob Tarrou’s YouTube channel.

You gotta love this fellow’s “militant glasses”, clear diction, and gorgeous script. His full list of 500 free lessons is at

He says, “I started making math videos September of 2011 after a student told me they were using the internet for math help.  While working full time I have managed to make almost 500 video lessons in  3 years.  I have playlists for Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2, Trigonometry, PreCalculus, Calculus, and AP Statistics. “

I recommend that if your young person has a talent that has a serious math component as one of its core skills, it would be worth your time to cross-reference your current curriculum lessons with this strong voice. Rob Tarrou’s very large chalkboard and imposing presence is compelling to watch at high definition on a full computer monitor. If this becomes a favorite resource for one of your children, I would personally like to hear about what worked particularly well in his presentations to make it clear for your son or daughter.

Math Logbook Includes Notes About Application to His Talent

math log notebook

Your child should log how his traditional course connects and applies to his developing talent.

My son Nicholas, who is 11 years old, has started a new online math course that he is enjoying very much. One of the course goals is for him to keep an personal log of what he is learning in his own words. In this picture you can see him writing in a Moleskin notebook about that day’s lesson and you can also see in the background the whiteboard (propped up on our baby’s high-chair) he uses to teach back to his younger brother what he learned. What you can’t see though is that he is also logging extra notes and thoughts about how the different type of numbers are handled in the coding languages he is learning as part of his on-going coding talent. This is one of the ways he is able to use a traditional content course like the one from Grade 8 Math by Benjamin Richards (available at to support and develop a stronger control of his core talent.