NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO: O Queen of the Holy Rosary | The Backstory of Why and How I teach my Children Hymns

Check out my latest Youtube video and read on to find out why I teach my children ASL from infancy! (scroll all the way down for sheet music/text)

+JMJ+

It was a regular Sunday at church.

My husband and I were teaching the first communion catechism class and it was time for us to have the children recite the Apostles’ Creed.

We had two special needs young boys (already almost adolescents) in the class who had struggled with learning.

We realized pretty quickly that while the other students seemed to have no problem learning their prayers, these boys would need particular help.

I unfortunately had not known about the Montessori method and alternate ways of teaching special needs children but I was determined to try and do a bit of research.

An unexpected learning method

I stumbled upon a Youtube video with a Protestant woman who claimed she taught her husband how to teach the Apostles’ Creed to children with hand signs. She raved about the results she saw and strongly encouraged her viewers to try and see for themselves.

I was intrigued by the idea and knew – from my past experience in music school – that the more senses one employs in memorization, the easier it is to memorize. Kinesthetic learning is truly amazing!

I decided I would try it.

Even more unexpected results

I introduced the hand signs to the boys and asked them to practice these hand signs with the words throughout the week.

They came back the following Sunday and I asked them to stand in front of the class and share what they learned.

As they “performed” the hand signs and said the Apostles’ Creed perfectly, their mother who was watching was in tears. The class cheered them on and there was a look of pride (the good kind) in their accomplishment.

I knew I had to look into this more.

Fast forward a few years later…

I was given a book in my first baby shower on teaching babies hand signs so that they can communicate BEFORE they are able to speak. The idea was amazing to me but not a shock as I could see the learning benefits of using hands with language.

My own twin girls began using sign to communicate between 12-14 months…they were signing so much that there words I didn’t even know as they even began to make up their own!

It was a success. I knew I had to incorporate signs to help them learn hymns before they could actually speak.

The result was amazing. They were signing hymns just as I had hoped and so I decided to continue until they were able to speak.

Why not continue?

As they were able to begin forming full sentences on their own, I decided I would continue incorporating hand signs into the hymns I would teach even though they began singing the hymns with the words back to me.

I thought it would be good for them to know the signs to English words which could also bridge the gap between English and the Spanish I was teaching them!

When I mention a word in catechesis or doctrine, they still – to this day – say “Oh, that’s like *such and such* hand sign!” and I also noticed that when a word in a hymn is a little difficult for them to understand – like “honor” – the hand sign assists them in understanding the meaning and provides a context for me to explain the word.

A brief overview of the benefits to hand-signing hymns:

  1. Assists in memorization of words
  2. Provides a physical “word” to pre-speech infants and toddlers to learn
  3. Bridges the gap between languages
  4. Provides parent/teacher/guardian with additional context in explaining word
  5. Helps children teach their younger pre-speaking siblings/classmates
  6. Helpful for special needs children
  7. Helpful for children “on the move” or with high gross motor needs

So there you have it! I hope you can follow along with us on our musical journey towards virtue and gaining heaven!

Download the music for this hymn by clicking the image below.

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