I have finally settled into a routine as far as my Spanish learning goes. If you are interested in acquiring a new language, check out these resources for your language:
Duo-Lingo – a really fun and FREE language-learning app and website that has taught me more in the last 6 weeks than everything else I have ever learned combined, including a high school class, 1 semester of college-level Spanish, and cramming for the CLEP. I cannot believe this program is free. I am making way better progress here than I did with Rosetta Stone, although the programs are similar. After soaring through the first 14 levels (out of pure excitement and addiction), I am now continuing to learn and reinforce at a much slower pace, but I am still satisfied with my continual progress. This program mostly teaches you new vocabulary and how to translate back and forth between English (or some other language) and Spanish (or some other language, lol). In addition, you have the option to use the microphone and/or the speakers to practice speaking and listening skills. There is also an immersion aspect, but I haven’t checked it out. I spend about 30-40 minutes with this program each morning before my son gets out of bed.
Memrise – this free program is open to so many possibilities! I have brainstormed several ways to use this spaced-repetition flashcard website and app for my own self improvement and homeschooling ideas. I have been using it for nearly 4 weeks now, and have not lost interest. The flashcard deck I have chosen has nearly every word recorded by several different native speakers, and the program randomly chooses one to play each time you encounter the word. It’s great for improving vocabulary, and it keeps track of the words you miss the most often and reviews them frequently. I spend about 10 or 15 minutes a day on this program, ideally right after finishing Duo-Lingo.
Anki – this is another spaced-repetition flashcard system that has tons of user-created flashcard decks available for download to your computer, phone, tablet, etc. I have been using this one for about 4 weeks as well. In contrast to the Memrise and Duo-Lingo programs, I have not figured out if you are able to share your progress across different platforms, so I have a core set of decks that I study seriously from my laptop, and a few fun ones that I study from my phone if I get bored when I’m out and about. The great thing about Anki is that you can download flashcards with pictures on them, so you get used to associating a Spanish word with what it actually represents, instead of merely translating in your head from English to Spanish or vice versa. I think some of the decks contain audio as well, but I don’t personally have any of those downloaded. I spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour studying the flashcards with this program, later in the day while Ian is working independently. It’s fun and I always look forward to it!
Tunein – this is a fun radio station and podcast listening website and app that has tons of programs in other languages, some of which are designed specifically for the language-learner. My husband introduced this program to me about a week ago. In addition to talk channels, you can also listen to music in your favorite language – complete with commercials, which are not so annoying when you are hanging on every word trying to understand what they’re selling, lol. For instance, I’ve been listening through the News In Slow Spanish channel. I’m covering one or two episodes a day, and although I try pretty hard to listen attentively, sometimes I find myself tuning out and getting distracted. That’s ok! I am acclimating myself to the sounds, even when I’m not actively listening. I usually turn on Tunein while I am exercising, which I have always had trouble making time to do anyway, so now I’m killing two birds with one stone. It’s also fun to listen to while cooking or engaging in any other quiet activity. If you are a homeschooler, you could listen while your children work on an art project, etc.