You may have heard that kids regress academically over the summertime. If you haven't, just google it. You can read all about "Summer Learning Loss," how awful it is, and what you can do to battle it.
With that in mind, I totally intended to play lots of math games this summer to keep my son's brain juices flowing. As you know, I'm a fan of our homeschool math program, Right Start. It's fantastic. But every lesson requires my one-on-one attention. So by the end of the school year, I'm ready for a break.
A friend of mine lent me the first book in the Life of Fred elementary math book series. I think I told my son to do a lesson in it a grand total of two times before he finished the entire book on his own. He LOVES it. Fred has changed my life. (Ok, perhaps I'm being a little dramatic, but I am really happy to have found Fred!)
Life of Fred math books are written as stories about a boy named Fred who uses Math in his everyday life. At the end of each short chapter is a section called "Your Turn to Play" in which the child does five or so problems having to do with what he read in the chapter. I thought it was cheesy at first but my son thinks Fred is hilarious and seriously loves reading it and doing the problems. It's bizarre. My friend's daughter is the same way. We are both baffled, and think it's corny, but hey. The kids LIKE to do it, and they can do it BY THEMSELVES, so it's a win-win.
It's perfect for summer time to keep kids brains buzzing and give Mom a break! (It's not just for home schoolers, this would be a good summer book for public schoolers as well.) We are still using Right Start as our actual Math program during the school year, but I think Life of Fred will be really nice to have as backup on days when I am unable to sit down and do Right Start with him. Basically it's our math filler.
If you want to read more about the program, here is the official LOF website. The elementary series includes books A-J (Apples-Jellybeans, in ABC order). They're available here individually, mini-sets, or as an entire set.
Here's to a happy summer, happy kids, and a little math snuck in for good measure!