Homeschool Living Maths: Life of Fred – Dogs

Learning Maths with Life of Fred: Dogs

Since I have learnt how to create my own work sheets, Life of Fred maths is getting even better 🙂  We have just finished Life of Fred: Dogs, book four in a ten book series of elementary maths, based on a little boy named Fred (you can buy these in the UK here).

The first thing I did was try to find some targeted work sheets for Life of Fred: Cats, the book before Dogs. I couldn’t really find any which I liked so I made my own!  These can be downloaded from here:

Life of Fred: Cats Booklet

Life of Fred: Dogs – Adding Doubles

Understanding adding doubles is crucial to easy and quick mental calculations.  I am certain we covered this a few years ago, but I had lots of ideas for play.  I created some ‘Adding Doubles’ note pages which can be downloaded for free using the following link:

Life of Fred: Dogs – Adding Doubles

Life of Fred: Dogs – Adding Doubles (Investigating patterns)

First we investigated any patterns.  The girls worked out the doubles up to ten.  They recognised that all answers (regardless of whether you are doubling odd or even) end up with an even number.  They also noticed a pattern within the answers.  This enabled them to guess at the next ten number doubles:

Life of Fred: Dogs – Adding Doubles (Ladybug Doubles)

Next, they got some practice in.  I had created ladybug doubles.  They needed to complete the dots (doubling up on the other side) and then write the total number of dots on the head.  Easy peasy 🙂

Life of Fred: Dogs – Adding Doubles (Dice and Double)

On another day, I asked them to play Dice and Double.  The aim of the game is to throw one die, double it and write the sum and its answer in the spaces provided.  I made a couple of sheets: one for use with one die and the other for use with two dice.  The child throws both dice, add up the total and then double the total, for harder doubling practice:

Life of Fred: Dogs – Adding Doubles (The Doubling Machine)

I created this simple machine to start off the girls understanding of mathematic function machines.  This was a simple machine which doubled each number inputted:

Life of Fred: Dogs

The girls were also able to get some practice working out what number could be used to create the output.  Thus, they both learnt how to double and how to half or divide.  The girls really enjoyed this game:

Life of Fred: Dogs – Adding Doubles (Doubles Memory Game)

This was a simple game of pairs, with the added difficulty of remembering where all the cards were.  The girls needed to pair the double sum with its answer.  The more pairs the better!

Life of Fred: Dogs – Adding Doubles (Doubles Bingo)

I made this version of the well known game of bingo.  When I called a double (ie 5 doubled) they covered the answer (in this case ten); when I called a single number, they needed to work out which number doubled made it and if they had that sum they covered it up.  The player to cover their card first won.

Life of Fred: Dogs – Adding Doubles (Domino Doubles)

This was a fun game to play orally.  We played as normal, but each time one of us made a match we added them together and shouted out the answer.

Life of Fred: Dogs – Adding Doubles (Flip and Double)

This was such a simple game.  The girls used only the number cards from a deck or cards (or Uno).  Flipping a card over, they doubled it and shouted out the answer as quick as they could.

Needless to say, the girls are very very comfortable and quick at working out doubles 🙂

Life of Fred: Organising in Groups with Graphs

I bought the girls a bag of Jelly Babies and asked them to group into any type of sets they wanted to. First they grouped them into groups of four, of any colour. This enabled them to count them quickly but they were unable to tell me which colour they had the most of and how many they had of each colour:

Then they grouped them into circles of the same colour. Now they could easily say which colour had the greatest number and could count each colour fairly easily:

Afterwards, they grouped them according to their place on the colour wheel, with reds and purples together, and oranges, yellows and greens together:

And they arranged them in groups of five, one of each colour. They could easily see which colour had the most based on the colours left over:

I then asked them to group them according to their colour in straight lines. This easily showed them which colour they had the most of and they could count one by one:

Then I asked how they could change things so that there was no need for counting. Abigail said to write the numbers at the side. I did and I taught them how to label the axis also:

Now they could easily see how many was in each colour group. Success!

Plans Going Forwards

You can probably see that this lesson was done months and months ago! We took a break from everything over the summer, and have focused the last three months on getting them fairly independent with their ACE workbooks. I don’t LOVE them doing the notebooks but it does seem to suit especially Abigail.

That said, I still want to do some fun school as well, and it is my goal to do Mystery of History, Apologia History and Life of Fred Maths during our morning meetings and then doing the activities to go with the lessons in the afternoon. This will give them some fun school to do alongside their workbooks and will also give me peace of mind that they are getting the basic education they need. Especially poor Abigail who does struggle so very much with her concentration.


  1. I love how you build on the Life of Fred books – I use them in tutoring, but we mostly just discuss stuff and sometimes watch a Khan Academy video for more details. I’m really looking forward to using them in home education (if and when we have children, that is…) so that I can dig deeper! It’s hard to fit in fun activities like the jelly bear graphs when you only have an hour a week.

    Also totally off topic but don’t the girls look grown up in their leather jackets?! I’m sure they were babies a couple of weeks ago.

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