So we just finished up Grade 5 Singapore Math which I think is a wonderful curriculum (equivalent to about Saxon Grade 6/7- prealgebra). Downside is that the kid wanted something they could teach themselves with. You know...... a book never gets tired of repeating the same instructions over and over.......So after many late nights of surfing the web, I decided to try Life of Fred. The reviews I read said that it was very good for kids that read well (yep) and they could teach themselves from it (yep).
So we are 2 weeks down the track of using it. Every 5 lessons there is a short test that you need to get 9 or 10 out of 10 correct (you can keep attempting for 5 different tests - at which point you need to go back and do the 5 lessons again). Once you pass these you go onto the next part.
My 10 (almost 11) is loving it. She keeps sharing the funny things with her brother (a year behind in math), he keeps asking me when he can do Life of Fred. She is breezing through it - probably thanks to covering alot of this material in Singapore Math. But I am ok with that as it means she will REALLY know this stuff well before going into algebra. Some days she chooses to do 2 or even (gasp) 3 lessons.
Here is a quote from inside the first book (Fractions):
After this book, there are six more Life of Fred books
Decimals and Percents
after which, you can transfer to any university as a junior and declare a major in mathematics.
The books cost $19 for the first two and $29 for the rest. Some also have a home companion book ($14) or for the last two books an answer key ($6). Great value for money. The books look like they will last through many siblings.
We'll keep you posted, but so far so good. The tradeoff for the kid doing their own math is that I don't feel it is as diversified as she would get in Singapore Math, but it does seem fairly good at getting the kids to think for themselves, and really understand the concepts.
Life of Fred website. Go checkout some sample pages from the books.