Learning Letters and Numbers

Homeschooling has been an interesting experience. There are great times and hard times and well, really perplexing times.

Grace is a bright child so I didn’t anticipate any major challenges in teaching her kindergarten. But as usual when I least expect a challenge, there it is! When will I wizen up?

For a year and a half I have been teaching her the letters and numbers. She has learned most of the letters and sounds, but she has a terrible time with two letters–both vowels. The English language revolves around five vowels. Try reading without two of them, no way! About half of the time she sees a little I she says the “T” sound. The rest of the time she can’t differentiate between the E and I sounds. I am told this is pretty common. We are at the point where she should be sounding out words though, and she just can’t sound them out. So…what to do? Do I just keep working on sounds? Will it just click one day?

Then there is the number issue. We count to twenty. She does very well, with one exception. She can not remember “Fifteen.” Every time she gets to this number she says, “Five teen.” I get it. I understand how that seems normal, but you would laugh at my efforts to get her to say, “Fifteen.” We jump up and down and say it. We wave our hands and say it. We do cheers, “I say fourteen you say fifteen. Fourteen…”


Every day I think, “Okay she’s got it.”

Every next day we sit down to count to twenty. I hold my breath as she counts, “Thirteen, fourteen…five teen.” Every. Single. Time.

I know that she will not go to college saying, “Five teen,” or not knowing her vowels. She will get it eventually! But for now I wonder do I push her to keep going? Do I spend more time on letters? Should I just let her play for a few weeks and then take it up again? She is a young five after all. What is the best for HER?

I’m linked with Time Warp Wife, and Hip Homeschool Hop.



  1. says

    I would let the number issue slide, it should fix itself with exposure to the number system. Just keep playing with counting and make sure you are the one saying fifteen for a while then maybe she will get it the next time around. As for the letters, I wouldn’t focus on them in isolation. Create a collage of pictures that have that letter sound in it (focus on beginning sounds and CVC words), search for the sound in books and writing assignments. If you focus on it in isolation, you will just frustrate yourself and her. Having her decode CV, VC anc CVC words with those letters may help too as she will hear the wrong things when she tries to say the right word.

  2. says

    We are having problems with 13 and 15. Annabelle counts it just fine but when she sees the number, she says five teen or three teen. It drives me bonkers!

  3. says

    :) I remember a couple of my kids doing this while I was homeschooling. But I am a very relaxed homeschooler so it really didn’t bother me that much..I would just wait a couple of weeks and try again..it’s amazing what just giving it a little time will do :)
    It might just be me but isn’t reading with 2 vowels a little advanced for beginners? I don’t remember now it’s been so long:) You are a great Mom! and Teacher:)

  4. Rakel McDuff says

    We are having a simular problem with Stacy. She turned 5 in Nov. She is lerning to count to count to 50 now, but she did forget her 13 and 15. Rodney would tell her if you would just say five teen I’d be happy.

    As for the sounds of the Letters find the Letters and Sounds movie by Leap Frog. Both my kids loved it and still do. It teaches all the alphabet and has some cutesy songs to go with them.

  5. Jill says

    It might be that your daughter is a visual learner?
    I would keep going with both but make sure she is using number cards (possibly with words on them as well). When she gets the short I sounds in reading the word fifteen will come to her better if she sees it. Daily putting cards in order. She might also be the child that will benefit most from seeing and studying math facts with the answers often before drilling and while learning them. You keep saying fifteen, but she might need to see fif.

  6. Aimee says

    I probably wouldn’t worry about the number thing. She seems to get the general idea. It’s probably just one of those quirky kid things that work themselves out. As far as phones, I love the pathway to phonics method. It starts with short vowel sounds then adds the consonants one at a time but blended with the five vowels ie. da, de, di, do, du. I’ve also been playing bingo with my preschooler and kindergartener. With the preschooler, I have the vowel sounds (all lower case right now) on a grid. When I call out a sound, he finds the corresponding letter and puts a pebble on it. With my kindergartener, I put the words she’s able to read on the grid and call them out. I give her five seconds to find the word before I call out another word and she has to move on. Both of the kids love it and I’m sure it could be adapted to suit various grades as well as subjects (times tables, addition, subtraction, historical dates, elements tables, etc!)

  7. says

    I love the five-teen b/c it reminds me of my 4 year old. She always skips 13 and I have tried the “repeat after me thing, too”… I think everything you’ve mentioned is pretty normal for her age and she will get it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *