Have you been wondering what curriculum you’re going to do for homeschool preschool? One our favorite things that we’ve been learning while doing homeschool preschool has been American Sign Language (ASL).
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Why learn ASL?
There are so many great benefits to learning ASL. From learning more about Deaf culture to proven cognitive benefits in children there are so many awesome benefits and it is such a fun and beautiful language to learn.
I may be extremely partial to ASL because I had begun to study to become an interrupter for the Deaf. I decided to take a break until my kids are a little older (I am a two under two survivor after all). One fantastic benefit of learning ASL is to be able to communicate with Deaf community and learn about Deaf culture. It is a beautiful language and I don’t feel like Deaf culture always gets the recognition it deserves.
You can learn alongside your child
Another great benefit to adding ASL to your homeschool preschool curriculum is that you can learn alongside your child. If you didn’t do well in French class in high school or you don’t remember anything besides bonjour and feel leery, don’t worry. ASL is great because the grammar and conjugation isn’t as intensive.
Proven cognitive benefits
Like I said before, I think ASL is a great language for children to learn. According to this post from Educational Playcare there are some fantastic benefits for children who are learning ASL including:
- +12 IQ point advantage
- Accelerated speech and emotional development
- Reinforcement of learning of educational concepts such as ABC’s, animals, and other specific themes
- Helps children remember words because there is muscle memory involved, and the more senses involved in learning, the greater memory retention the child will have
- Improves attentiveness to social gestures of others as well as of themselves
- Larger speaking vocabulary and ability to form longer sentences
- Earlier reading and larger reading vocabulary
This study by Italian researchers also found that there was evidence that learning sign language may lead to a cognitive advancement in hearing children.
The basics of any language will help your child
Learning the basics of another language will also help your child so much. Imagine them having a huge leg up in their high school or college foreign language requirements because they have been taught the basics (or more) of another language as a preschooler. I’m a firm believer that teaching your child another language is such a beautiful gift you can give to them.
Free ASL resources for homeschool preschool
Learning the alphabet is usually the most important part of learning any language but this is doubly so for ASL. There are many words that are fingerspelled in ASL. Also, many words are based off of the first letter of the word for instance, water is the letter “W” sideways to the mouth.
Teaching your preschooler the signs for each letter will also help your child learn the alphabet itself. There is something about the physical motion that will help your child remember words and letters that correspond with the sign. I was surprised to hear from a friend that said the daycare she used to work at always incorporated teaching the ASL alphabet because it helped the children learn the letters so much faster.
The best place to start would be by reading this post on how to teach the ASL alphabet to children. It gives a practical step-by-step guide with a lot of fun associations to use.
Free ASL number resources
Fantastic and free websites to use
There are some really valuable websites out there for learning ASL. Two of my favorites are Life Print and Signing Time. Life Print is a lot more advanced than Signing Time but Signing Time is great because it is geared towards children and preschoolers. Something I really like about Life Print is that they include a lot of regional variations in their dictionary. This is important since sometimes signs can vary regionally.
Although the word “baby” is part of the site name I also really like Baby Signing Time. It is a great reference for many commonly used words and they have a lot of free printable flashcards.
Some of our favorite ASL preschool resources from Amazon
My family absolutely loves Signing Time. It was also a top choice for our homeschool preschool group when a host had to cancel last minute. One of us could still host and just watch an episode of Signing Time. I feel a lot less guilty if my children have screen time because Signing Time is just so educational.
Signing Time has been one of our biggest homeschool preschool ASL resource. You will truly learn a lot from these DVDs.
These wooden ASL alphabet and number tiles are so much fun.
These ASL flashcards are great. They have all the basics including letters, numbers up to 20, and a lot of other basic vocabulary words.
If you have a child who loves blocks then these ASL alphabet blocks would be a great addition to your homeschool preschool resources. I also love that they are made in the USA.
I have a ton of free printable coloring pages above but if you want to add to your resources this coloring book is also great. I love it for when we are out at restaurants or other places.
I’m a sucker for these twistable crayons. They great for on the go and they don’t get broken as much. Plus, the colors are super fun.
My other tips for adding ASL to your homeschool preschool curriculum is to find a Deaf instructor once you have the basics down. There are a lot of awesome instructors online and there are also a lot of free videos on YouTube by Deaf instructors. This is especially important if you will be continuing homeschooling beyond the preschool years.
My biggest and most important tip of all is to have fun!