Travis and I did a brief lesson on American Sign Language during homeschool today, a lesson plan provided by Raddish Kids (which, by the way, has dozens of homeschool units even if you don’t subscribe to their recipe kits).
The lesson was a great way to talk about embracing and accepting difference, starting by asking Travis if he knew what it meant to be deaf. Once I explained the concept to him, it immediately became familiar since he remembers some of the Sign he used as a baby, and we use it now with little sister Veronika. A video link had neat biology about the ear.
Raddish provided lots of links which could make this a very detailed homeschool unit for older kids. We kept things simple and jumped ahead to learning a few songs in ASL, including Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Veronika was grinning when we checked out a video for 16 animals in ASL, since she already knows most of these. She looked thrilled we were speaking “her” language.
It was fun to go through the alphabet and Sign the kids’ names, too!
You can add to the lesson by cooking a love-ly recipe or curling up with books on the topic. We read I Have a Sister, My Sister is Deaf by Jeanne Whitehouse, Hands & Hearts by Donna Jo Napoli, which had us learning a few new Signs, and The Deaf Musicians, a great book for onomatopoeia by Pete Seeger.
Extend the unit with older kids by doing a biography of a famous deaf person. Fun suggestions include Beethoven or Helen Keller.