As many of you know, when I received a paycheck in the working world, I was an interpreter for the Deaf, and later became a Deaf Ed. teacher. So it only seems natural that as I'm teaching my kids at home, they should learn sign.
We do a signing lesson everyday, where we go over a list of vocab. for the week, and put them into sentences in ASL (American Sign Language.) But my favorite part of our signing time is now our "5 Minutes of Deafness." I have found this to be so effective in teaching them to understand and sign expressively. I set the timer on the microwave for 5 minutes, and if you talk to me during that time, I can't hear you. Everyone MUST sign to communicate. Jax gets utterly confused much of the time, but Emma signs like a little Deaf kid! It's amazing! It's a lot of fun. If you are teaching, or learning, any language, I think this is vital to really learning to use language practically. If the kids don't know a sign for something, they have to act it out, which improves their expressive skills. (Facial expression and animation are actually a part of the grammar of ASL.)
If anyone is interested in teaching their kids to sign, there is a great show on PBS on Sunday mornings called "Signing Time." Anyone can learn from this show, and you can take the vocab. from one show and practice it for a week. It is awesome for communication for little ones. This is especially important for us right now, as Justus is needing non-verbal communication like crazy. Our whole family can sign. You can too! Then you can join us for 5 minutes of Deafness!