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How to Make the Most of Language Learning at Home

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Γειά σου \’ya soo\   | Greek | 'Hello' |  Literally; ‘Health to you’  

Many of us have been faced with a (temporary) new way of life as communities around the world take measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. For some, that means more work, and for others, it means more free time. Either way, this collective shift has shown us just how connected we truly are to one another. So, what happens when we have to be alone? Many people are turning toward e-learning as a resource to make the most out of a difficult time.

To help ease us into the new norm, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips and tricks for making the most of learning at home. Whether you’re a teacher, a parent, or just someone who finally has time to learn a new language, this list of helpful ways to adjust your lifestyle for maximum engagement is for you.

Create a routine/schedule

The temptation to wake up late and stay in pajamas all day is strong. There are no busy commutes to deal with, or lunches that need to be packed. No one will know if you’re in your robe and slippers when you dial in to that 10:00AM phone conference. But while that may be true, experts say that it’s important to create some sort of structure in order to maintain a healthy work-life, or school-life balance. Now that your ‘office’ might be across the hall from your bedroom, a good starting point is to keep up your usual sleep schedule, and to still shower and dress as you would for a normal day of work (or at least keep it business-comfy). There are many time management techniques out there for you to use (for example, the Pomodoro Technique). 

The good news is, since you’re at home, you can create a language learning schedule that works for you. 

Set realistic goals 

Another impulse is to make a very long list of all the things you can learn now that you’re working from home or off from school. That ambition is awesome! But holding yourself to too high of a standard can lead to burnout. Keep your goals SMART — heavy on the ‘A’ (achievable) and ‘R’ (realistic). For example, you can break down your Mango lessons into digestible portions in order to create daily, weekly, and monthly objectives. When you accomplish a goal, no matter how small, cross it off your list! This feeling of accomplishment will show you how far you’ve come, and motivate you to keep moving forward.

Don't forget to review

When it comes to learning a new language, repetition is key, but it can be difficult to know just what, and when, to review. Staying up to date with your Mango review cards takes care of that for you. 

Key words and phrases from each Mango lesson are automatically added to your review stack, and the frequency in which you may be presented with a given phrase will vary depending on your ability to recall the correct translation. 

Basically, the Mango Review System adapts to your individual progress and makes sure you keep learning until you’re confident in your comprehension, without you needing to lift a finger (well, except to click the ‘review’ button).

Use your surroundings

For now, your home is your office, classroom, movie theater, and playground — make the most of it! You can use features like downloadable lessons and auto play while cleaning, stretching, or walking outside. And no need to reinvent the wheel, either; Expand your vocabulary by labeling items in your household in your target language, a tried-and-tested method for beginner language learners. 

Found an old deck of cards? What a great way to practice numbers! Many streaming services offer your favorite TV shows and movies dubbed in other languages, or at least with subtitles. Treat yourself to a movie night in your target language. (Season 3 of Elite in French, anyone?)

If you’re a heritage learner, right now is a great time to reach out to family members for some speaking practice via phone or video chat. Not ready to dive into a real-life conversation yet? Try practicing with your furry companions — they won’t judge! And for those of us without pets, did you know there is evidence that talking to your plants can help them grow faster?

Go easy on yourself!

We get it; Many of us have been wishing for more free time to finally do the things we want to do, whether it be learn a new skill or pick up and dust off an old hobby from our long forgotten past. That’s admirable — we don’t want our time to ‘go to waste’. But it’s also important to acknowledge that the world is going through a really tough and scary time, and there might be some moments when you don’t feel like being productive. That’s okay too! In fact it’s necessary for our brains to absorb the new material or skills we are learning. So, think of downtime as something you need to function, and not as a waste.

Stay connected & share the love

No single person is an island, and it’s more important now than ever to remember that. Communicating through language inherently brings people together, and you can use this to your advantage if you start to get a little antsy learning all by yourself. Search the net for virtual language hangs, or start your own. Additionally, one ‘All Languages’ subscription comes with five more family profiles so you can share the language love with your friends or whomever you live with. Write your own stories, scripts, or improv a scene — get creative! Learning together encourages accountability, and it’s more fun! The 24-hour news cycle and constant barrage of updates can take its toll on our mental health. Use your new language as an excuse to hop on a video chat and interact with the people you care about most. 

 

In the end, however you choose to spend your time is up to you — there are a myriad of options. But our advice from Mango to you is this: be good to yourself, and to others. We wish you all health and safety. ♥️

On the Importance of Connection During COVID19
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Free access to Mango Classroom for eligible schools

At Mango, we’ve focused on doing what we can by providing free access to our language courses to more institutions than ever before. If you or someone you know is a teacher or school official in need at this time, feel free to share the link below.

Learn More

When it comes to learning another language, what works best for you?

Megan Polom
Written by Megan Polom

A coffee and podcast addict, Megan is a copywriter here at Mango. She is currently learning Korean and Spanish, and hopes to tackle French next.

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