I’ve had a chance to check out Mr. D Math ASL 1, which is a high school-level self-paced online ASL class for homeschoolers. It is comprehensive and challenging but also is sure to be fun for teenagers. I have a deep and abiding love for American Sign Language, which I learned in bits when I was younger. Revisiting ASL through a self-paced online course like Mr. D Math ASL 1, with live “help sessions,” shows me some of the astounding benefits homeschoolers have to learning via this online course.
Note: I was compensated for my time in preparing this review. All opinions I share are my own. I am also registered as an affiliate for Mr. D Math.
ASL 1 High School Course
Mr. D Math ASL 1 is hosted on the same learning system with Dennis DiNoia’s established high school math classes, but ASL 1 doesn’t have math in it, unless you “count” learning to count. With a friendly and fluent young woman as our teacher, we are led through lessons at our own pace. The videos for each lesson vary in length, with an average of 10-20 minutes and some as short as 5 minutes. After the lesson’s instructional video, there are usually more materials for learning: printable vocabulary pages (with illustrations of the signs), individual videos of each new vocabulary word, more videos for review, a visual comprehension quiz, and a homework assignment to submit via video.
As it is currently set up, thirty-two lessons make it year’s worth of language learning practice, with one lesson completed each week for a school year. But it should be noted that with this course, learning ASL is not just a breezy amusement: this is a serious language learning course set up to let students earn high school credit. My middle-school-aged daughter, who says she wants to learn sign language, decided she wasn’t ready to give her regular attention to the lessons with me, and she felt too shy to be recorded for the homework assignment. So, this is not just another introduction to signing: this is a graded high school course.
ASL Online Classes with Help Sessions
When I’ve looked at self-paced online language learning courses before, I always felt like it sounded too good to be true. How does one learn a language by oneself? Mr. D Math ASL solves this dilemma by giving students a community in which to practice. After I submitted a homework assignment to the teacher, she responded with direct feedback about my video. For some lessons, we are able to see other student’s submissions and then comment and say “hello” to them as well.
In addition, regular school year “help sessions” bring the group of learners together. The first help session of the school year was a friendly “get to know you” time with a Kahoot activity, where teenagers answered questions about likes and dislikes. The teacher, Ms. Thia, was homeschooled as a teen, and she is young and in touch with the generation. Other self-help sessions have themes, such as learning to sign a Disney song. It is clear that teen students will enjoy the chance to socialize with others.
An ASL Class for Homeschoolers
This class is perfectly set up for homeschoolers and their needs, so I cannot wait to give my daughter this course when she is old enough to fully participate. The regular “help sessions” are ideal for teens learning a language, allowing them to connect and practice with like-minded teens around the country. The teacher is a former homeschooler who obviously relates to them. The self-paced nature of the course wonderfully aligns to any homeschooler’s schedule. It just also has so much to offer a homeschooled learner — including a culture lesson about ASL out in the world!
When I was in college, my ASL course met 3 times a week; I then had a stack of 5 or 6 VHS tapes. From those VHS tapes, I learned signs for my homework. Mr D Math ASL 1 course is very comparable to an in-person ASL course. In fact, in some ways, Mr. D Math ASL online format is more useful! Here are some of the benefits.
- Enjoy an easy format for vocabulary review. (Rewatch lessons anytime, and review each word via individual video.)
- Get practice understanding signs. Take a video quiz to see if I understand signs and then I get immediate feedback.
- Get personal feedback from the teacher. When students submit their signing video to the teacher, students get personal feedback from her.
- Get a chance to socialize with the regular live “help sessions.”l.
With Mr. D Math ASL, so much is incorporated into the online format that it gives students a fantastic chance to learn American Sign Language from home. The interested homeschool high schooler will be pleased with their continued progress after they join this online ASL 1 course.