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help with learning alphabetical order

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My 8 yr old DD does not understand how to do place in alphabetical order. I don't know how to teach it to her. : I would love advice on this. And fwiw, I wanted her to go back to school in the fall but she was tested and they wanted to place her 'back' in 2nd grade and my husband (soon to be ex) wasn't having it and has demanded I keep her home next year. He refuses to let her be held back. I, however, do not want to keep teaching her. She is hyper, doesn't listen well to me and fights me on everything.daily. I just had a baby last year, have house work and errands and help my H run his business (which will stop once he moves out and his new woman does it instead). I've had a lot of stress in my life and put homeschooling on the back burner and my DD has suffered because of this. I feel so bad.

My husband and I are recently separated and he is moving out soon, we have a 7 month old as well and a teenager. It's just too much on me. But he will give me a hard time if I try to fight him on it. So for the time being I would love help on teaching her alphabetical order. For some reason she just doesn't get it. I dread another year of this but need to get my mind set on doing it and doing it better from now on.
post #2 of 9
This is irrelevant to your question, but your post concerned me. How do you plan on supporting yourself and your children after your ex moves out, if you plan on homeschooling for another year? Yes, some people homeschool while working, but it's very hard. Not to mention expensive to pay for all day childcare for a school aged child. Could it be that his insistence that you devote another year to doing something that you don't enjoy doing AND that will hold you back career-wise and financially during a precarious time in your personal life is a way to sabotage you? Is there a reason your DD couldn't go into an intensive summer tutoring program, such as Kumon, and be caught up to her grade level by fall?

As for alphabetical order, I guess I would make sure that she understands ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd), and then show her how A=1, B=2, C=3, etc. You can show her how to write in "secret code" using that. Make sure she understands that even if she can't remember off the top of her head if L comes before or after M, she can sing the alphabet song as needed. I still have to do that when I alphabetize things!

Good luck!
post #3 of 9
To start with abc order, I would get or make a strip of the alphabet so that she can reference it as needed. Then, I would start with a short list (5 words) that started with different letters. So, if you have a list like: dog cat horse ant pig --- I would reference the abc chart and point to "A". "Are there any words on this list that begin with the letter A?". Let her find the word "Ant". "Good, now are there any that begin with B?". Let her determine that there isn't and then move on to C. I would completely guide her through this for a while. Then, I would give her some simple lists to do herself. Once she is competent with that, I would show her how we handle words that start with the same letter.

Also, I would point out real world application of this skill. Phone book, library, dictionary are three that seem relevant for an 8 year old. Sometimes, once a skill becomes meaningful, it has a better chance of getting learned.

Sorry to hear about your situation--I hope things start to look up for you.

post #4 of 9
Why are you letting your soon to be ex make all the decisions about your daughter's schooling? You have at least as much say about what happens with your kids as he does.

To continue not answering your question, let me just say that if I were in your position, one of the last things I'd be worried about was whether or not my kid could put things in alphabetical order. Yes, it's a useful skill, but IMO it's not so important at this age that it's worth putting a lot of effort into it when you have limited time and energy for homeschooling.

Okay, now to actually answer your question. Can she easily recite or sing the alphabet? If not (or even if she can), I like AAK's idea about making an alphabet strip for her to look at. Then I'd start by naming (or writing) two letters and asking her which comes first in the alphabet. Once she's shown you she can do that consistently, I'd move on to giving her a couple of words and explaining that to alphabetize them, she needs to find the one that begins with the letter that comes first in the alphabet. Let her practice doing that with just two words at a time until she's comfortable with that, then give her a list of three words and ask her to find the one that comes first, the one in the middle, and the last one, based on their first letters. Then you can gradually move on to longer lists. Once she can alphabetize 5 or so words, you can explain that when two words begin with the same letter, she'll need to look at the second letter to decide which one comes first. And eventually you can give her some where the first 2 letters are the same, and have her look at the 3rd letter. And then explain what to do when one word is shorter than the other, so you run out of letters in one word before you get to a letter that's different - like when you have be and bet or bat and bath. (Or you could go through all the rules while she's still working with just 2 words at a time, and wait to give her longer lists until she knows how to compare the first 3 or so letters, and deal with pairs like bat and bath.)
post #5 of 9
This is how I am doing it here; first, there is an alphabet placemat on the wall. I began with short words that have starting letters that are next to each other in the alphabet - apple, ball. Then, apple, ball, cat. Apple, ball, cat, dog. Each time, get those words out of order and help the child understand the alpha order. Then another set of words for another short sequence of letters - pail, queen, run...etc. After he understood putting short sets with beginning letters next to each other in order, I made short sets that skipped a letter - horse, jump, lamp, nest - gave him those out of order and helped him figure out the order, using the placemat on the wall. After he could do that, I gave him a longer list with some consecutive first letters and some skipped. For alphabetizing to the second letter, I started with a set with all the same first letter - bat, bed, bug. Then moved on to a set with two of each first letter - bat, bug, cake, cot, dog, drum. Eventually I moved to a list of about ten words, some of them with the same first letter.
post #6 of 9
I have not taught this to DD yet but I'm replying because I actually remember learning this myself. It was a big alphabet strip on the wall in 1st grade that helped me get it. I knew already to read from left to right, so I understood that those letters were "in order." I would have to look at the strip at that age to order the words.

Later I could sing the song to myself but I needed that strip before I could rely on the song.

I agree with the PPs, though, sounds like this question is not the biggest one on your plate. I'm all for homeschooling (obviously) but only if it works for everyone.
post #7 of 9
hugs. om my goodness. you are going through so much right now!! i'm sure you're exhausted on every level.

as for abc order, my daughter learned that through a spelling curriculum we have previously used. you could just print off the abc sheets though, as they would still be quite helpful for your little girl.


just scroll down to "spelling lists and worksheets" (on the left). click on the grade that interest you (1-4). for each week, you will see an "ABC Order" worksheet. your dd can cut them out, sort them, and glue them in alphabetical order. my daughter enjoyed this.

i hope this helps. hang in there. hugs.

ETA - if she finds it confusing still, start in the lowest grade first, as the words will be easier to categorize (there won't be several words starting with the same few letters, etc).
post #8 of 9
Sounds like you are going through a lot.

What about starting with looking up books in the library in the fiction section (sorted by author)? Also, re-shelving books in a library can be a great way to extend onto it once they understand the system. I hope one of these ideas helps.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies.
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
Why are you letting your soon to be ex make all the decisions about your daughter's schooling? You have at least as much say about what happens with your kids as he does.
I told him I wanted to put her in school and that was our plan for months up until she tested and was told she would have to be held back in 2nd grade. : So I did give my input on the situation. I have a baby too and since I'll be home with the baby it only made sense to him that our 8 yr old be home as well. I work with my H in his business and will continue to do so. He is going to be moving in to another house very close by and plans to be around often. That's not the point though I guess.

I'd rather not continue homeschooling since my DD is so difficult but I will try to make it work and get her caught up (according to what the school requires anyway). If I no longer do a lot of work in his business then that will give me more time to be with my girls and I do look forward to that, I just don't look forward to the schooling part. Plus, I know that it doesn't matter what "grade" level she is in. She will learn things as she is mentally capable of doing it. She won't learn the same things as other 8 yr olds at the same time and will be behind in some areas and ahead in others. That's why her going back to 2nd grade didn't really bother me at all. He is full of pride and scared of what people will think I guess. I want him out of the house and want out of the marriage so I am willing to go along with him for a while. He has said maybe we can get her caught up and get her in to school later in the year or next year.
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