The Sociable Homeschooler: Host-Vivienne McNeny, Guests-Dawn Prochovnic and Christie Jenkins, Topic-Sign Language
This is an episode of “The Sociable Homeschooler”, hosted by experienced homeschooler, Vivienne McNeny, from Toginet Radio.
On this episode, Vivienne interviews 2 sign language experts and they talk about how useful sign language can be for hearing people, and especially for children.
RELIGIOUS CONTENT NOTE: Vivienne’s show does contain some religious content, as she is a devout Catholic and always begins and ends her show with religious quotes and thoughts. But it is such that I, as a non-Christian, consider very minor, as the main content of this episode (and nearly all her shows) is usually not strongly religious in focus. The exception only being when she has very religious guests…this sign language episode is not one of them.
Next she talks about her recent trip to Costa Rica, and then reads an excerpt from her book, (VERY good book, I must say! Since I’ve heard all the excerpts so far!) which talks about her many years of experience homeschooling her 4 (now grown) children, and does also contain religious content.
If you’d like to skip to the sign language content, fast forward to 17:38.
LAST NOTE: There are also commercials within Vivienne’s show, as that is the format of Toginet Radio.
Dawn Prochovnic, founder of SmallTalk Learning, a training and consulting company specializing in teaching sign language workshops to children and their grownups. She is the author of “The Big Blue Bowl” (shown below) and 7 other children’s books in the “Story Time with Signs and Rhymes” picture book series.
Christie Jenkins, “Idea Entrepreneur“, created the first video for teaching sign language to the general public called “How to Talk to a Person who Can’t Hear“. Today it’s sold as a dvd under the new title “Sign Language for Everyone”
From this episode:
A deaf person will never construct a sentence the way you and I do, because they don’t hear. They don’t need all the extra words. They don’t need “the” “and” and “buts.”…Learning sign language is actually easy. It’s very fun. Kids pick it up instantly, MUCH faster than their parents, although the parents do come along….It’s such a wonderful, fun language.
An analogy I use with many of my students, both youth students and adult students, is that we are borrowing some tools, if you will, from the ASL American Sign Language toolbox. And as a result, we’re going to be very skilled in “building a bird house.” We’re going to learn how to use a hammer and nails and some scraps of wood. And we’re going to put those together and we’re going to build a house that a bird will be quite happy and safe to live in. Now by being exposed to that, we might also develop an interest in “building a bigger structure”, but it doesn’t mean that we have to be able to “build a condominium complex,” learn the entire American Sign Language vernacular, syntax, sentence structure…to be able to borrow from this very beautiful language that the deaf community created and used. We can borrow those tools and use them to enrich the learning experiences for children and adults.