Your question: Are the books self-contained or do I need to buy other stuff like calculators, manipulatives, etc.?

Let's answer all of those questions . . .

Are they self-contained? All are of the answers right there in the book?

Yes.

All of the Elementary Series books have all the answers included.

LOF: Fractions;LOF: Decimals & Percents;LOF: Pre-Algebra O with Physics;LOF: Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology;LOF: Pre-Algebra 2 with Economicshave all the answers included.

LOF: Beginning Algebra Expanded Editionhas all the answers included.The same is true for

LOF: Advanced Algebra Expanded EditionandLOF: Trig Expanded EditionandLOF: Geometry Expanded EditionandLOF: Linear Algebra Expanded Edition.

LOF: Calculus Expanded EditionandLOF: Statistics Expanded Editionhave all the answers included.

Calculators?

Once past the arithmetic books and into the second pre-algebra book (*Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 1 with
Biology*), you can pick up one of those cheap (maybe around $5) calculators that has +, –, x, divide, and square root keys.

Once into algebra, you make the "big" purchase of a scientific calculator that has "sin" and "log" keys. (Certainly, under $20. I got one on sale once for $8.)

You do *not* have to get one of those graphing calculators that cost around $100. I have a Ph.D. in math, and I've never owned one. It's an insane and budget-busting expense that government school systems like to impose on their students. In the Life of Fred algebra and trig books, I will show how to graph all that stuff that the fancy graphing calculator can graph—and all it costs is the price of pencil and paper.

Manipulatives?

No.

Extra test books?

No.

Teacher books?

No.

CDs, DVDs, Computers?

No. The only electrical thing you need is a light bulb.

One of the most important skills we want our high school kids to acquire is to learn how to learn by reading. In kindergarten, 99% of what kids learned was from the teacher's mouth. As they progress up through high school and college, increasingly they learn more and more by reading.

I know it isn't easy for some to learn how to read. For those kids, it is more important that they be encouraged to learn that skill.

After they graduate from the university, for the next 40 years almost all of the technical things they will learn will be by reading—and not by hearing someone lecture. We want to prepare them for adulthood.

For five years in the 1990s, I produced a weekly television series entitled Stan Now Considers All Things. It began as a 30-minute program and in the later years became an hour-long program. I was my gift to the community. Each program consisted of 3-5 minute segments around the themes of history, poetry, the Bible, math, philosophy, sociology, science, art, . . . There were 15 subjects. I would dress up, often with wigs, etc., and do the presentations. I also did the editing and wrote the scripts.

In other words, I could easily turn the Life of Fred series into DVDs—if I wanted to. But, in the long run, I think it would be harmful to our students. God calls us to love—not just with our heart—but also intelligently. Our kids have got to learn to read.

Pizza oven?

Recommended but entirely optional.

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