Are you looking for a unique foreign language credit for your homeschool high schooler? American Sign Language (ASL) might be a great option!
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Can American Sign Language (ASL) count as a high school foreign language credit?
I knew Mr. D Math offers an online ASL high school program, but I wondered if American Sign Language was widely accepted as a high school foreign language credit.
“ASL is a true human language fully distinct from English with its own literature and culture.” Dr. Sherman Wilcox says. American Sign Language is not merely signed English; it has a distinct grammar, linguistics, and culture.
More and more colleges and universities are accepting American Sign Language as a foreign language credit for graduation, including Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.
Of course, accepting ASL as a high school foreign language credit for admissions is a separate matter, although it’s commonly accepted at this point. You can reach out to the admissions offices of a few colleges your teen may be interested in to see what their ASL policy is. You can also check this ASL College website which includes a clickable map with details about admissions and graduate requirements.
Always remember, however, that you are the boss of your own homeschool high school plan. There are many reasons why including ASL in your high school plan is worth considering, regardless of college admissions considerations.
Why should you consider studying ASL in your homeschool?
Dr. Wilcox asserts, “Students who know a foreign language commonly find that their perceptions of themselves and the world are richer than their monolingual peers. The study of a language, culture, and literature different than their own propels students beyond the limits of their own world. In all respects ASL affords students the same challenges and rewards as more traditional foreign languages.”
There seems to be some disagreement over how to measure how common American Sign Language is in the United States right now. You may have heard someone say that it is the 3rd most common language in America behind English and Spanish. While it is the 3rd-most common language to require a court interpreter, the larger claim is somewhat disputed.
However, over 3% of those living in the United States describe themselves as deaf or extremely hard of hearing. And without skilled ASL interpreters, that can isolate the deaf community from churches and broader community life. A teen who learns American Sign Language can be part of the solution!
ASL can also be a great option for students who struggle with auditory processing or accents. Kinesthetic learners may especially thrive learning ASL in high school.
ASL is also a great language for multiple ages to learn together. There are resources available for every age and grade to learn American Sign Language. And even a basic understanding of fundamental sign language can be of benefit!
Homeschool High School American Sign Language Made Easy
Maybe your teen is interested in studying ASL, but you’re not sure where to start or how to find a teacher. Mr. D Math, a site beloved for its many online homeschool classes, offers self-paced American Sign Language classes that may be just what you need.
What’s Included in Mr. D Math ASL-1:
ASL-1 is taught by Miss Thia. A former Mr. D Math student herself, Thia graduated from Gallaudet University (the only Deaf college in the world). She has pre-recorded video lessons teaching new vocabulary and American Sign Language grammar. Some lessons also include supplemental instructional documents and videos.
Video assignments (reviewed by instructor)
Each lesson includes a video homework assignment. For example, at the end of Lesson 1 your student will submit a video of themselves based on the following prompt:
Submit a video of you signing: “Hi, I am called _____. Nice to meet you! I am learning ASL.”
Near the end of the course, your student will be submitting a video signing along with The Star Spangled Banner!
Other assignments include challenges like going a day without speaking and writing a brief essay describing the experience. Miss Thia also encourages students to find opportunities to participate in Deaf culture.
Homework, Quizzes, and Tests
Quizzes throughout the Mr. D Math ASL-1 course provide opportunities for students to assess their ability to recognize the signs they’ve learned.
There is also a more extensive midterm and final exam.
Optional Live Zoom Meetings
There are 1-2 live Zoom sessions available each month. Students can interact with the teacher and other students while practicing their signing, ask any questions they may have, and participate in the planned activity! Other times, they play ASL games, chat with Deaf guests, and more. Sometimes they even learn how to sign a song!
Sign Dictionary (including printables)
There are also a variety of flashcards and sign dictionaries throughout the course, including printables for quick reference away from the computer.
For students who want to pursue multiple years of high school study, you’ll be glad to know that Mr. D Math offers ASL-2 and ASL-3 in addition to ASL-1.
You may also be interested in:
- Happy at Last with Homeschool Algebra 1: our experience with Mr. D Math online self-paced courses
- Homeschool High School Math Online (with Dennis DiNoia from Mr. D Math)
- High School Math and ACT Prep: Online Homeschool Math with Mr. D Math
- Easy Homeschool High School P.E. Curriculum (for the not-so-athletic teen)
- How to be successful with online homeschool classes