For our home school we have chosen to learn ASL for our second language. It has been a fun and rewarding addition to our education. The kids and my own. Amelia (and Max) have been exposed to signing since birth. Emmy knows roughly fifty to seventy signs. Alex is getting really good at finger spelling and reading. Livi and Cordi use signs to communicate with Emmy which eases some of the two-year-old frustrations she has.
Emmy almost never talks without at least signing a few things. Weeks ago, she fell off the bunk bed and had a mild concussion, the paramedics looked at me like I had three heads when I said "She's not signing!!!" Their response was "Oh, is she deaf?" which she isn't and they discredited her lack of signing but to me, signing goes hand and mouth with her communication skills and her lack of signing was a blaring signal to me something was very wrong. Thankfully, a few hours later both her verbal and signing speech returned.
Our preferred method of learning signs for the little ones is through the Signing Time DVD's. these colorful, vibrant, musical movies bring signs to life. There are companion CD's, flashcards and books and even an iPhone app. They also have a downloadable free curriculum.
The songs are fun and wonderfully produced making them bearable for repeat play, which their sure to get. It's also totally adorable to see my 2 year old sign "signing time" when she asks to watch. Being able to clarify Emmy's imperfect baby speech by signing has be tremendously helpful to my sanity.
I've just started a signing program through Signing Online which is an online class. Fantastically priced at $50 per course (4 courses total), quick and well done mini movies of signing and cultural education of the Deaf community, Signing Online is a winner for home study. An extra $20 a course and you can receive CEC's nursing and teaching. I plan to finish out the four courses and then start Alex on them possibly next year.
If you're unfamiliar with the benefits of signing to young children, I encourage you to visit the links above and do your own research. Even if you don't pursue it as a second language or communication, signing can still be beneficial and fun.
Olivia signing "Doctor" and Cordelia signing "Bird"