It took almost 30 years, but I finally enrolled in my first ASL (American Sign Language) class.
One day, when I was in elementary school, we had a few people come to our school to teach us sign language. It was really just an interactive assembly. Half of the school at a time shuffled into our gymnasium, sat on the floor, and watched. I don't remember who they were or where they were from, but I will always remember how much I loved that day. They taught us the alphabet, numbers 1-10, the Pledge of Allegiance, and how to sign the song Tomorrow from Annie. (The other half of the school learned the song Puff the Magic Dragon. Funny the details you remember.)
Since that day I've tried to absorb as much ASL as I could from anyone and everyone who knew it. I also watched videos and read books to learn how to sign with my daughter when she was a baby. But I never had the opportunity to actually take a class. Until this September. My, my husband's, and my daughter's schedules were all in a place where I could finally attempt this, and I was ready to go. I really want to become fluent in ASL, and possibly become an interpreter.
Already having a (completely unrelated) degree I am eligible for a Deaf Studies Certificate program. This year (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) I'm just taking once class per semester to get my prerequisites of ASL101 and ASL102 taken care of and to get back into the swing of school. Then I'll apply to the 2 year program. After that I might be taking another 2 year program. But I'm taking it one step at a time.
I'm more than halfway through ASL101 now and I love my class. It is completely voices off. There are 18 students and we partner up in class to practice various concepts and then go up in front of the class to sign. I was always nervous to speak in front of classes, but I have no stage fright when I'm signing.
My text book for both classes this year is Master ASL! - Level One.
Unit One: Welcome
Greetings, farewells, and using non-manual signals.
Unit Two: Getting Started
Asking for help, activities, and days of the week.
Unit Three: Getting to Know You
Background, interests, states, cities, colors, numbers, holidays, and weather.
Unit Four: Family & Friends
Family members, pets, age, life events, friendship, and personal qualities.
(The next six units are for ASL102.)
At my campus bookstore the textbook comes with both a DVD and workbook. I believe if you purchase it from Amazon the workbook is sold separately.
My professor also has us use a second DVD titled A Sign of Respect.
We follow the experiences of an ASL and Deaf Culture student.