One of the advantages of learning a language at home is you can fit the work into your schedule when it’s most convenient. Of course, one of the challenges is it can be hard to make yourself stick to that convenient schedule. But with a few science-backed techniques, you can create a self-study language schedule that isn’t daunting and really works for you.
Organize Your Time Into Blocks
It’s far too easy to let a plan get away from you if you only have a vague intention to get to it. If you schedule a time to study, it removes the nagging question about when it will happen. Put study time in your calendar, and set an alert to remind you.
When it’s time to get to work, you can make the task feel more manageable by dividing the time into smaller blocks. If the task seems overwhelming, choose a length of time that seems doable. Set a timer for 20 minutes and dive in. When the timer goes off, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment from finishing that task, motivating you for the next 20 minutes.
Mix the Old With the New
Once you’ve completed a unit, especially if you’ve done well, it seems logical to leave that material behind and concentrate on what’s next. But researchers at University College London found that returning to familiar material can help you retain it better, as long as you’re also studying new information at the same time.
The brain is stimulated by new input in a way that it doesn’t respond to familiar information. Learning something different activates the midbrain and boosts dopamine, both of which improve memory.
Returning to old material while you study new information will help you retain what you’ve already learned, saving yourself from time-consuming and discouraging review sessions of work you thought you’d mastered.
Boost Learning by Accessing Language in Different Ways
There’s no substitute for direct instruction and study of a language. But according to a study published in the journal Studies in Second Language Acquisition, language students can significantly benefit from accessing information about other subjects in the new language. Whether it’s watching a movie (no subtitles!), learning a song or a poem, or listening to an audio version of your favorite book, learning in your target language can really boost your skills.
As an added advantage, these activities can usually fit into your day when there isn’t enough time for a traditional study session. If you can’t sit down with your books, listening to an audiobook while you drive will help keep you on track.
Shut Down Distractions
According to one study, people tend to work faster after an interruption in a bid to make up for the lost time, but they also experience more stress and frustration. Their perceived time pressure is greater, and the work feels like it takes more effort. Not only is this mental state less conducive to learning, but it’s much harder to stick to a self-study language schedule when the study experience feels so unpleasant.
Even short interruptions affect mindset, so let family members know you’re not available during your scheduled study time. Of course, the worst culprit when it comes to interruptions is your smartphone. Put it on silent and put it away. Immediate access to those texts and notifications just isn’t worth it.
Getting Study Help for Online Language Courses
Online language courses for high school credit through Language Bird are a convenient, effective way to earn high school credit from home. With our expert language instructors and your effective self-study language schedule, you can get the high school foreign language credit you need. Contact us today for more information.