Erin had a conversation with a woman the other day who said she learned German really quickly because she attended intensive language classes for six months. All day, every weekday, for six months. Who has that kind of time?! Erin certainly doesn’t. And what if you can’t leave the house? Or you work, have a child, and an apartment that apparently doesn’t magically clean itself. Seriously though, don’t let these kinds of folks make you think you can’t learn a language, you can totally do this, at home, and Erin explains why!
For more inspiration on the topic, check out this Q&A article about language learning from home by different language learning experts.
Can you really learn a language at home?
Learn online, at home
The number one way to learn a language at home is to take classes at an actual online language school like Lingoda. This is different than apps and software because you’re online live with a native speaking teacher with a small class of four or five people. There’s a set curriculum, and a clear path through the CEFR language levels (A1, A2, B1, etc) so you know where you’re at and can see the progress you’re making. The real benefit of taking Lingoda classes for me is the flexibility. I can take a class in the evening, or when my son is at school in the day. I can take two classes a week, or two classes a day if I want. It’s great.
Skip the language apps
I know, everyone will mention a certain app straight away when you say you’d like to learn a language. And yes, it’s funny, there’s even a whole Twitter account dedicated to the silly sentences you learn. This isn’t going to help you actually learn a language and speak it well. When I found Lingoda, I was over the moon. Native speaking teachers, small class sizes, flexible class times – it was everything I needed in my freelance-working, child-caring life. So yes, I still log on with the green owl once in awhile to practice between classes, but every time I do, I think – if I was in a Lingoda class I would have made a lot more progress.
Have a karaoke party
I tell anyone who will listen that my half-decent German pronunciation skills are entirely down to my all-Deutsch playlists. I only listen to music in my target language these days, and I sit down and learn the words. I sing along with all my heart, and it’s great! I’ve learned all sorts of things about love and whether things are working out and whether I should stay or go, and a lot about floating weightless in space (thanks Peter Schilling). But I sing in my kitchen, in the car, and it’s like lesson time that doesn’t feel like lesson time.
Watch movies with subtitles
When I say watch movies with subtitles, I mean the audio should be in your target language. If you don’t feel comfortable going without your native tongue entirely, use Language Learning with Netflix to set up a two-language subtitle display. Even if you’re seeing your own language in the subtitles, just listening to the target language will help. Learning a few new words and phrases is well-worth a couple of hours of leisure time – and it’s amazing how just listening attunes your ear even if you’re not catching all of it.
Just keep doing it
The challenging thing about learning a language at home is to just keep doing it. Know that we all get frustrated, that we all hit a point where it feels like we will never get it, and we all get past it. I tell myself, I’ll just book that next class, that’s all I have to do right now, and by the time it starts, I’m ready to go again. So fulfill that desire to learn French, German, Spanish or English, and book your first Lingoda class now.