Empowering Homeschoolers: A Guide to Teaching American Sign Language (ASL)

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American Sign Language (ASL) is a vibrant and expressive language used by the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community in the United States and parts of Canada. Teaching ASL to homeschoolers not only fosters communication skills but also promotes inclusivity and empathy. This guide will provide you with practical tips and resources to effectively teach ASL to your homeschooled highschooler.

Easily Teach ASL to homeschoolers! Explore inclusive strategies, visual learning, and tech integration in our guide.

Disclosure: Some resources or websites mentioned in this post we have received, in the past, for review. This post is not part of the agreed upon promotions. If it’s mentioned here you can be assured I chose to mention it and this post itself is not sponsored.

Guide to Teaching American Sign Language

I will share curriculum yes but also FREE resources and activities you can use if your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase a pre-made curriculum.

Most highschoolers take a second language course in their highschool years. You’ll have to check your local laws to see if you they are required to take a second language. You also need to check if ASL would count as it does in some places but not everywhere.

The Value of Teaching ASL in a Homeschool Setting

  • ASL is a fully-fledged language with its own grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.
  • Learning ASL promotes cognitive development and linguistic diversity.
  • Teaching ASL fosters inclusivity and breaks down communication barriers between the Deaf and hearing communities.

What does a student think?

“Learning ASL the past 7 years or so has been such a great aspect of my life. It has improved my creativity, thinking skills, and even in a way my confidence. When songs play, I’m more prone to sign along than to sing along. Though not as fluent and natural as I am in English, I can think in ASL. It is such an expressive language, and I had to consciously practice making more facial expressions and emotions.

This has made me more confident in telling stories in ASL, signing to a song, and even just speaking directly to someone in English. These have just been some of the positives to learning it, not even counting the biggest one of all, being able to communicate more naturally and comfortably with some people in the Deaf community. So not only is it a fun language to learn, but it allows me to connect with others more easily and personally.”

Alastrin, age 17

The Home Learning Environment

  • Emphasize the importance of respect and empathy towards the Deaf community.
  • Encourage students to approach ASL learning with an open mind and willingness to learn from Deaf culture.
  • Incorporate multimedia resources featuring Deaf individuals and ASL storytelling to immerse students in the language and culture.
  • Use curriculum taught by the deaf community.

Starting with the Basics: ASL Alphabet and Numbers

  • Begin by teaching students the ASL alphabet and numbers, as they form the foundation of communication.
  • Introduce common greetings, expressions, and everyday vocabulary relevant to high schoolers’ lives.


It won’t take most highschoolers long to learn the ASL alphabet (fingerspelling). Most resources for the fingerspelling alphabet are geared towards young children and won’t be much help. A simple YouTube video works fine and they should get it in no time. If your budget doesn’t allow for an online or in person course, YouTube is a great resource but beware who you are learning from. Remember what I said before: Use curriculum taught by the deaf community.

Whether you’re student is learning common expressions as mentioned above or more complex sentences, I recommend the following for those who have the budget. AbleLingo has an ASL Bundle which is what I recommend for the best deal. For one lump sum you have access to ALL their video courses including new ones that are added.

Easily Teach ASL to homeschoolers! Explore inclusive strategies, visual learning, and tech integration in our guide.

Focusing on Visual Learning: Strategies for Success

  • ASL is a visual language, so prioritize visual aids such as videos, diagrams, and pictures to supplement verbal instruction.
  • Incorporate kinesthetic learning through hands-on activities like finger spelling and signing songs or poems.
  • Provide ample opportunities for students to practice signing with each other and receive constructive feedback. For this reason, it’s best when homeschooling to learn as a family. This way everyone has someone else to practice with.


$$ – Try these flash cards, visual dictionary or Barron’s American Sign Language Book (with Online videos).

FREE – YouTube videos (for learning vocabulary and learning songs in ASL), free sign language flash cards and finding an ASL buddy in your own house or through a local social media group.

Integrating Technology and Online Resources

  • Utilize online platforms and mobile apps specifically designed for learning ASL, offering interactive lessons and practice exercises.
  • Leverage social media platforms and online communities to connect students with Deaf ASL users for authentic language practice and cultural exchange.


There are lots of online platforms for learning ASL including:

A * means we’ve used it and recommend it. Others look good but we haven’t tried them.

*AbleLingo – Video only courses. You can purchase a certain course or get the bundle and get access to all courses current and future.

*StartASL – Four different courses, you can access #1 for free. The others are paid. Includes assignments and grades including on deaf culture.

*ASL University – run by Bill Vicars, an amazing teacher. You can enroll in their courses but you can also watch their videos on YouTube and learn a lot. Also a library of information.

SignLanguages101 – You can purchase a beginner course or complete course bundle. Video lessons available on many devices. There are separate courses designed for kids too.

Connect and Practice

To find others to practice with that aren’t in your home, try ASL Spring‘s monthly ASL practice membership, it’s very cheap!

ASL Apps

The ASL App– For Android and Apple, it has a few free parts but you can purchase more kids for $0.99 or the whole bundle for a small sum.

SignSchool – FREE app for Android and Apple. It’s not as good as the above but is a good free option.

Easily Teach ASL to homeschoolers! Explore inclusive strategies, visual learning, and tech integration in our guide.

Cultivating Cultural Competence in a Homeschool Curriculum

  • Teach students about the history, traditions, and contributions of the Deaf community.
  • Encourage students to engage with Deaf cultural events, such as Deaf poetry slams, theater performances, and ASL storytelling nights.


To teach about history and deaf culture I recommend the following.


*contains affiliate links

Deaf Utopia by Nyle DiMarco

Mom Dad Not Hear

Galludet New Deaf Lives Series

Finding Zoe

Sounds Like Home

FREE Documentaries

Signing Black in America

Through Deaf Eyes

Deaf-initely Deaf

Short Videos

Deaf People Answer Commonly Googled Questions About Being Deaf

What It’s Like to Be Deaf

Protecting and Interpreting Deaf Culture

Assessing Progress and Providing Feedback: Nurturing ASL Proficiency

  • Implement regular assessments, such as quizzes, role-plays, and signed presentations, to gauge students’ proficiency in ASL.
  • Provide constructive feedback and individualized support to help students improve their signing skills and comprehension.
  • Celebrate students’ progress and achievements, fostering a sense of pride and motivation to continue learning ASL.


StartASL has assessments if you use it. However there are also other ways to give assessments. The only thing is if you don’t know ASL yourself you can’t of course tell if it’s correct. However your child can use resources to figure out words they don’t know and their knowledge of ASL word order to do their best. I gave a few days to do these projects. Keep reading for resources to find words they don’t know yet.

Fun Projects/Assessments

Check out all the other ASL assignments from this channel.

Signing songs is always fun too. You can find instructional videos on Youtube to follow to start with. Eventually your child may know enough signs to do their own pick of songs and just look up words they don’t know.

To look up words you don’t know, use Hand Speak.


Teaching Sign Language to homeschoolers is not only a valuable educational opportunity but also a means of promoting inclusivity, empathy, and cultural understanding. By creating an inclusive learning environment, focusing on visual learning strategies, and integrating technology and cultural competence, educators can empower students to communicate effectively in ASL and foster meaningful connections with the Deaf community. Together, let’s embrace the beauty of ASL and work towards a more inclusive and accessible society for all.

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