The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Tess Hamre and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

American Sign Language for Kids and Adults, Volumes 1 and 2 Idioms & Phrases in American Sign Language, Volumes 1 and 3 Review by Tina Rice

EverydayASL Productions, Ltd.
(No phone due to hearing and speech disabilities)

American Sign Language for Kids and Adults, Volumes 1 and 2 teach American Sign Language (ASL) through the written and spoken word. Signs are taught using the written and spoken English word, a picture (visual clue), and the correctly demonstrated ASL sign. Volume 1 runs for 140 minutes on one disc and includes animal videos, idioms, a music video, grammar and structure, and the ASL alphabet. Volume 2 runs for 85 minutes on a single disc and includes vocabulary based on a classroom theme, quizzes, a zoo visit, bloopers, and the ASL alphabet. Volumes 1 and 2 can be used separately or together.

ASL for Kids and Adults is not a complete sign language program. You can play it on your computer (if it is DVD compatible) or your TV. It is a great introduction to ASL for students, parents, and educators. Instructor Avery Posner clearly demonstrates each sign or idiom and shows the correct signing grammar. The trip through the zoo in Volume 1 is a science education in itself, giving you more bang for your buck.

Idioms & Phrases in American Sign Language, Volume 1 runs for 43 minutes and introduces students to 52 idioms. In this volume there is no spoken component to the lesson. Each idiom is introduced in isolation and written on a screen. Next, it is shown in a written example and demonstrated. Volume 3 runs for 43 minutes and teaches 52 idioms and phrases. It follows the same format as Volume 1.

Idioms & Phrases is not a complete sign language program. While ASL for Kids and Adults is for beginners, Idioms & Phrases assumes a moderate degree of ASL knowledge. I would say that Idioms & Phrases is an intermediate ASL course suitable for high school students and adults.

I would recommend ASL for Kids and Adults for any age and any learning style. It was not made for homeschoolers, but it would fit well into most homeschool programs. The zoo portion of Volume 1 is excellent. I also enjoyed the way the series used spoken and written words with the ASL signs to teach sign language. This will appeal to auditory and visual learners.

I did think it odd that there was no spoken component in the Idioms & Phrases program. I played the DVD several times and on different players to make sure there was not anything wrong with the disc. During the "Special Thanks" portion of Idioms & Phrases, annoying digital music played in the background and unusual cartoon characters danced across the screen. Several of the cartoon characters were scantily dressed. I found this section to be awkward and would not want my son to watch it.

If you have a sign language program and are looking for additional teaching, or if you want to increase your knowledge of ASL, then I would recommend ASL for Kids and Adults. It is inexpensive and helpful. The Everyday ASL website has additional idioms and downloads. The site was easy to navigate and contained an extensive bio of both Ms. Ganezer and Mr. Posner.

I would like to see the addition of a teacher's manual to go along with ASL for Kids and Adults. There is a teacher's manual for Idioms & Phrases, but I did not get to review it.

Product review by Tina Rice, Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2010