Resources for Homeschoolers Who Want to Learn American Sign Language (ASL)
Disclaimer: Throughout this series, we will be using the diagnostic language and terms that most people who are searching the Internet will use to find information. We fully understand that using any term to categorize children may result in generalizations that may not apply to every child, stigmas associated with that term, and the possibility of overlooking the many beautiful positive traits that exist when we look at the whole child. We celebrate the differences that make us unique individuals and learners, and we write everything in this series with the hopes of benefiting all children and their families. Resources are provided as options for you, may not represent the views and opinions of A2Z Homeschooling, and in no way are meant to replace medical or other professional advice.
The choice of how to communicate is deeply personal. When you are homeschooling a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, you have options, and a popular choice is American Sign Language, or ASL. If you choose this path, you may wonder, how do I teach my child sign language? ASL is a language that can be learned at any age. Even babies can begin learning sign language, and sign language can be easy for many kids to learn. Knowing ASL can be an important asset in the life of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing.
However, your child doesn’t need to be deaf or hard of hearing to gain important skills and understanding from learning ASL and finding out about the Deaf community. ASL offers all learners benefits, including the ability to communicate with those who are deaf, improvement of small motor skills, enhancement of vocabulary, and the opportunity to become more inclusive.
Whatever your motivation, if you and your homeschooler want to learn more about ASL, here are some resources that A2Z Homeschooling has collected for you:
|Courses and Programs for Learning ASL||Text-Based Learning of ASL|
|Video-Based Learning of ASL||ASL Supplemental Resources|
|Other ASL Resources|
*This post contains affiliate links. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Although most of the resources listed here are free, those marked with a $ have a cost or require a fee/subscription in order to access the full range of materials.
Courses and Programs for Learning ASL
You may want to start teaching kids sign language with a solid foundation through a course or organized program. If that is your child’s preferred method of learning, check out these options:
ASLConnect | Gallaudet University $ (some free)
Ranked best overall for 2021 by the balance careers, “ASL Connect offers levels I-IV. These courses are designed to engage students with live interactions with fluent ASL users.” You can also find Deaf Studies courses and free online ASL videos and courses.
ASLUniversity $ (some free)
Explore the free lessons and videos for learning ASL, as well as the many resources available through links. You can also register and pay for a more structured course if you want documentation to fulfill high school, college, employment, or continuing education course requirements.
ASL Deafined $
“Who is ASLdeafined for? The answer is everyone! Whether you love someone who is deaf, are deaf yourself, or just want to learn ASL language, this program is for you. We’ve tailored our lesson plans to fit your specific needs…. Subscribe to our site today to get instant access to over 300 lessons, a video dictionary of over 15,000 words, and other tools and resources to boost your learning. You can track your progress with our progress chart and see how far you’ve come. With ASLdeafined, learning a new language has never been easier.”
ASL with Meredith $
Great for beginners! “If you enjoy Meredith’s teaching style on YouTube or Instagram, you’ll love this beginner course! It takes you from zero to conversational in six weeks, though it’s entirely online and self-paced, so you can fit it into your schedule and take it from the comfort of your own home.”
Signing Online $
“Signing Online has been offering web-based courses, designed with nationally and internationally recognized curriculum developed by Dr. David Stewart. You will learn American Sign Language (ASL) at your own pace from anywhere using your computer, tablet or smartphone. These online ASL courses focus on conversational ASL and use videos to demonstrate the visual nature of signing designed to help you learn sign language. The courses are perfect for anyone wanting to learn ASL online, whether you are just starting out or if you are at a more advanced level.”
Signing Time $
Teach signing to your whole family with programs like Baby Signing Time® for ages 0-3 or Signing Time® for all other ages who want to learn ASL vocabulary. Those wanting to continue learning ASL grammar, classifiers, non-manual signs, Deaf culture, and more can enroll in SignIt! Help your child ages 2-8 learn science through songs and signs in the Rachel & the Treeschoolers program or explore fun topics like rainbows and feelings in the Rachel & Me program. You can even teach your child potty training through song and sign in Potty Time!
SignOn Connect $
“SignOn connects the hearing and Deaf communities through authentic virtual learning interactions that give American Sign Language learners the unique opportunities to communicate one-on-one with a Deaf ASL Ambassador. Users can personalize their experience choosing to practice everything from basic vocabulary to daily conversation. SignOn gives people the confidence they need to engage with the Deaf Community while practicing and retaining language techniques.”
Start ASL $
Choose your level of access to customize your ASL learning. Here is what one mother says about the curriculum: “I am a homeschooling mom… I would highly recommend this ASL curriculum and program to anyone interested in learning to sign. Although we had some challenges, we have also had much success. My daughter loves that we can have private conversations without other family members understanding.” Indeed!
Text-Based Learning of ASL
You can also begin teaching kids sign language through books and text-based activities. Here are some books that can help you:
ABC Sign and Color: A Beginner’s Book of American Sign Language $
By Susan T. Hall (Author)
“Clever and kid-friendly, this introduction to signing features whimsical illustrations to color as well as the basics of both American Sign Language (ASL) and the American Manual Alphabet for finger spelling words. Each page features a clear drawing of a hand letter sign and common words beginning with the letter. Includes signing tips and etiquette.”
American Sign Language for Kids: 101 Easy Signs for Nonverbal Communication $
By Rochelle Barlow (Author)
“There has never been a better way to start learning American Sign Language. Ideal for parents of nonverbal children or children with communication impairments (ages 3-6), American Sign Language for Kids offers a simple way to introduce both of you to ASL. Build your vocabularies with 101 signs perfect for everyday use, all featuring detailed illustrations, memory tips, and hands-on activities.”
The Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary of American Sign Language $
By The Editors of Gallaudet University Press (Author)
“The Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary of American Sign Language presents more than 1,000 ASL sign drawings arranged alphabetically by English terms, plus delightful color illustrations for each sign…. The Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary is a bilingual dictionary that will improve American Sign Language and English vocabulary skills and help children make the connections between signs and written English words.”
Learn to Sign the Fun Way! $
By Penny Warner (Author)
“Learn to Sign the Fun Way goes beyond the manual alphabet and teaches the beautiful language of sign—the United States’ fourth most pervasive language—in a simple, interactive format. Signers-to-be will discover great games to make learning ASL an entertaining adventure, activities for both the individual and the classroom, cool groups of signs that appeal especially to kids, and much more!”
Video-Based Learning of ASL
A fun way to teach sign language for kids is to use videos where they can see adults or peers making the signs and then mimic them. These are online sources where your child can learn ASL through videos:
“ASL Access is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization founded in 1997. ASL Access encourages an abundance of visual language by promoting access to American Sign Language, providing information about ASL videos, and producing ASL videos. Our English by Eye YouTube Channel offers free ASL + English videos for learners of all ages!”
The ASL App | Ink & Salt LLC
“The ASL App is made by Deaf people for you! Learn conversational ASL right now, on the go, with all phrases and signs organized to make it easy for you to learn. The ASL App is designed to help you learn a new visual language in a way that is easy, intuitive, and well-paced. You can drag your finger on the videos to control the speed – totally at your pace. There is a search index (when you need to know a sign right away), slow-motion option, info (tips), and a favorites folder. You can save the signs you want to review again in your own favorites folder where you can go back to it and practice more; and even better – you can upload different signs you’ve learned to Twitter and Facebook.”
ASL Dictionary App | Software Studios LLC $
“The original ASL Dictionary. Over 5200 ASL Sign Language videos. Multiple meaning words, time, money, dates, numbers, idioms, slow motion, loop, swipe video screen…. Translate English into ASL, from A-Z, plus the entire numerical system, common English phrases, symbols and much more. A must have educational iPhone, and iPad app.”
ASL Translator App | Software Studios LLC $
“Translates over 30,000 words into Seamless Sign Language Video (Text-to-Sign) ASL Signs in English word order, plus our Smart Translation Algorithm. There are two parts to this app: 1. Text-To-Sign Generator (Signed English), 2. ASL Phrases (ASL)”
Check out this free ASL dictionary. Type or click on a word to bring up a definition and a video showing the ASL sign for that word.
“Signing Savvy is a sign language dictionary containing several thousand high resolution videos of American Sign Language (ASL) signs, fingerspelled words, and other common signs used within the United States and Canada. Signing Savvy is an ideal resource to use while you learn sign language. It includes the ability to view signs, build word lists and share them with others, create digital flashcards and quizzes, view ASL sentences, get tutoring, and more.”
ASL Supplemental Resources
Whether you choose an organized course or program, books, or online videos for the foundation of your ASL instruction, you may also want to supplement with materials that can add or reinforce that learning and make learning ASL for kids even more fun. Here are some resources to explore:
American Sign Language Lessons | Pinterest Collection by Look! We’re Learning!
Find ASL posters, flashcards, printables, games, and more!
ASL (American Sign Language) | Enchanted Learning
Check out this page to find flashcards, printouts, and crafts featuring ASL.
“Empower your brain and master this (second) language!” Find lots of resources here from a printable sign language chart and video; to an ASL-Kids app; to lists of ASL dictionary resources, classes, and books.
Sign Language for Kids | KidCourses
KidCourses started teaching ASL for free back in the early 1990’s and has been adding to their collection ever since. Browse the site to find information and resources, popular activities, and printables.
SignSchool App | SignSchool Technologies LLC
“Learn American Sign Language for free. Wherever. Whenever. Whether you’re on the go or relaxing at home, SignSchool’s app lets you learn American Sign Language at your own pace. In this app, you can: Browse the dictionary: Learn thousands of signs from a diverse group of signers and various dialects; Choose a category: Explore hundreds of sign categories covering a variety of topics; Reinforce your learning: Review categories with multiple choice games; Learn at your own pace: Watch signs in more detail with the slow motion feature; Play with SignBuilder: Strengthen your vocabulary with the randomized sign generator; and Improve your ASL with Sign of the Day: Learn a new sign every day and sign up for daily reminders.”
Other ASL Resources
Finally, we’ve added just a few more resources that can help you when you are teaching kids sign language:
8 Easy Ways to Learn Sign Language | GraceSigns
This post shares mostly free ways to get started learning ASL.
American Sign Language Font
“Gallaudet TrueType font allows you to use your keyboard to type messages that appear as fingerspelling on your computer screen and that you can print out. Note: If you want to send fingerspelled messages to your friend, then your friend has to have the Gallaudet font installed on their machine too in order for the message to show up as fingerspelling. The font may be used for learning sign language, correspondence using sign language, or whatever purpose you dream up.”
American Society for Deaf Children
Find out about learning ASL with your child, including resources for in person and online ASL learning.
Sign Language: Homeschoolers Material and Websites to Use in Your Sign Language Curriculum | Bright Hub Education
Read about the importance of sign language, where to find sign language curriculum, homeschool groups offering sign language classes, books for sign language homeschool learners, and references and resources.
Sign writing allows you to read and write in sign language. Find SignWriting software here, as well as information about SignPuddle Servers, SignWriting Dictionaries, and more.
Teaching Kids Sign Language – Preschool and Elementary Ages | 4 Parents & Teachers
Read these ten tips for how to best teach your child sign language.
Teach Your Baby Sign Language | Start ASL
Get your homeschooler or younger sibling started early. Follow these 12 steps to begin communication with your baby using sign language. Read success stories and tips and then download the free alphabet printable.
If you are homeschooling a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, be sure to check out our Special Needs section for more information and resources to help you teach and support your homeschooler!
Is your child learning ASL, and you know of some good resources to share with your fellow homeschoolers? Add your suggestions to the comments below….