“Outside-the-Box” Algebra Textbook for Visual Learners

Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra as serious as it needs to be By Dr. Stanley F. Schmidt

Before I review this exciting algebra textbook, I wanted to digress about my freshman Chem 5A class at Harvard a million years ago…

So picture me, insofar as you can, as a freshman at Harvard having come from a mediocre AT BEST public high school in Southern California taking my first “pre-med” class.  (and note that sciences are not in my zone of comfort).  I get Professor K (K for KRAZY) whom I am convinced is testing the drugs he makes in lab because he’s KRAZY.  He lectures off the periodic table rambling about properties of this and that, completely ignoring the $55 textbook he assigned.  His grad students make the problem sets that don’t correlate to the lectures or the textbook.  And even scarier, neither do the exams (and they are monthly!).  Picture hysterical Type A freshman freaking out… huddling in desperate groups trying to solve problem sets where information like necessary constants are not given and reside only in a reference book at the Science Library.  This ain’t Kansas folks.

And then one day,  I happen to stumble on a book that my freshman dorm  friend has lying around his room.  He’s also premed, but he’s really smart so he’s taking the more advanced Chem 10A class.  This book is the reason I got through Chem 5A because it, in a single slim volume, explained molecular bonding in a way I could ACTUALLY relate to. Unlike my textbook which read as blah, blah, blah as in Snoopy when the teacher is talking.  Or my professor who actually sounded EXACTLY like the teacher in Snoopy.

So folks, Life of Fred is this kind of textbook for algebra.  It’s totally different and it’s actually fun.  You go as fast as you want.  It  teaches algebra — abstract stuff — in relate-able story vignettes.  In short, this is the textbook or method for kids who are visual or who need something concrete and non-intimidating to learn algebra.  With this textbook, they will actually like algebra.

If you are not homeschooling and have an assigned textbook at school, this would be a great reference for those areas that are confusing or, perhaps, something to work on during the summer.

And if anyone wants to learn about molecular bonding, here’s that book.  Chemical Bonds:  An Introduction to Atomic and Molecular Structure.  And it reminds me of how fondly I think of this person, Harry Gray from Cal Tech, who saved my butt in chemistry a long, long time ago!

To purchase the Life of Fred textbook, please go to http://www.stanleyschmidt.com/FredGauss/index2.html.  His books are $25 on his site but much more on Amazon!

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

1 Comment

  1. Raven

    Sounds fantastic! As someone who never loved math, this sounds like something I need to read myself. When my daughter (who’s just 3 now) gets to Algebra, I’ll definitely check into this one. Thanks for the review!

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