Deaf Kiddos

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  • jmsuhr


    I am homeschooling my kids for the second year. The first year we used another curriculum and it really didn’t fit our family (and we quit 3/4 into the year!) so after searching for something new, I found CM! We are very excited to start with this curriculum very soon! I am currently researching what we will need for this year and am struggling with a couple topics due to my girls being Deaf. Deafness runs in my husband’s family and I have been using sign language since I was a little girl. I guess I’m looking for tips if anyone has been in my shoes before and support in what I am currently doing… is it good enough?

    The topics I’m struggling with are:

    1. Reading — Currently my dd7 is reading short sentences of words she’s memorized. I’m not sure how to get farther in reading as she doesn’t hear at all (obvs) and becomes frustrated if I try to use “sounding out” words in any way. My dd5 is completely in her own realm when it comes to learning. She has memorized a few common words (mom, dad, bed, etc.) but I can’t seem to get her any further than that. I read “aloud” by signing to them. We also do some copywork to help them practice. They love seeing books come to life and want to read more but we are all frustrated with trying to teach/learn reading. I am also an interpreter and I live/eat/breathe the deaf community, but I have struggled to find someone who can guide me in this time — usually have people asking my advice and I don’t have much to tell!

    2. Music (Hymns, masters of music, singing, etc.) — does anyone have a DEAF kid that they teach music to? My husband is profoundly deaf and he hates music. I’ve been using signed music with them but when it comes to something like Bach or Beethoven.. I don’t even know where to start. Should I skip it and focus on something else they are interested in? We don’t even have a cd player…!



    Wow….I need you in my life. I have a friend who is blind and deaf and communicating with her requires signing into her hand. It’s intriguing to watch her and her sister (also blind) sign to each other but I get lost so fast trying to read her signs!

    For reading, sight reading is probably your only option. There is a book called “How to Teach Your Baby to Read” that is entirely using sight and not sounding out. The concepts in it could be applied to your situation and might help.

    As to music, can they feel the difference? Put their hand on a piano while it’s played, feel the beat from a drum? If they can’t feel the music or aren’t interested in that, I’d not push it. Maybe focus on art instead.

    I hope you find the key to unlock reading for them. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job!


    We tried a few things for reading with my hearing daughter that may help.

    My older daughter is an interpreter, and we sign some.

    For reading look up Visual Phonics on YouTube.  We looked at their website and made up a few signs we couldn’t find.  It could be a supplement.

    Parts of the CM reading method are sight.  We like Sight and Sound Reading Lessons from agentlefeast. com Level 2 is coming soon. We also use a blog post from a CM lady.

    Advantage Guided Reading is a sight word program.

    Silent Blessings has an app and videos for music.

    Synthesia on YouTube shows notes on the screen with moving color bars. They may have classical music.

    We have a music keyboard with tutorials and lighted keys.

    Keep looking. You will find ways.  If your state deaf school is friendly, you may be able to ask for reading tips.  Some will just be mad that you are homeschooling.

    Maybe a mom of a child who goes to deaf school would have ideas.

    Keep up the good work, momma:)


    You are awesome Mama!

    I love the ideas above, and using the feel and sights of music for an understanding visually, but that is an area that may not need to be explored as much because they won’t be able to pick out the different instruments. I think about Mr. Holland’s Opus though where he has the music with the lights for his son.

    Much music can be felt, and I believe Beethoven kept writing after he went deaf, so there is a numerical pattern to music as well that can be discovered 🙂

    I have no tips for reading since I assume you sign ASL and not ESL? That would be bilingual in itself, perhaps using flash cards with the word and then you sign to them?
    Copywork will help tremendously, especially if you use a favorite story. My son is hearing, but at 7 he is just beginning to read. Some kids do take a bit longer.

    As a side note, we chose ASL as our foreign language so this post made me super happy.
    I would love to see how your Homeschool Journey unfolds with your girls!

    Also, was your hubby in public school or a deaf school? Did they just skip music totally? I am super curious. I hated history because of how it was taught (dates and facts boooooooooring) but I love love love it now that we are a Charlotte Mason family.

    Sonya Shafer

    Have any of you used the Edmark Reading Program with a deaf child? It’s pretty pricey, but I’m curious if some of the activities could be adopted; for example, the activity of matching a word or phrase to a picture or a sequence of pictures.

    It makes sense to focus on learning words by sight, rather than trying to explain phonics. And matching words to objects and signs seems to be a good way to help your daughters memorize what the words look like just as they memorize what the sign looks like.

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