Ok, it’s time to sit down in an un-comfy chair and practice your Spanish for the next six hours.
No, no, no!
That’s the last thing you want to do. If you thought drudgery would be what is required, you’ll want to change your mindset about the best approach to your daily Spanish routine. Instead of planning to sit down and grind through a marathon session each day, plan instead to work in “chunks.” Chunks are just shorter periods of time that best suit your learning style, your patience, attention span, and schedule. And, the ideal chunk time for you will vary from day to day.
Personally, I can’t sit for two hours focused on one thing. At times I even get antsy trying to make it through a movie. This isn’t a bad thing, it just means I need to keep that in mind as I plan my study times. Not only that but it’s darn near impossible to set aside that large a chunk of time with my schedule. I have to balance family time, work, home schooling, church, keeping the house from looking like a tornado ran through it, and driving the kids here, there, and everywhere.
Probably sounds similar to your schedule, huh?
Here’s how to get chunky.
What I do is look for opportunities in my schedule and have available material that will fit in those spots. These are some of the things I do that are super easy.
1. Plan and prepare in advance. There will be plenty of chunk time through the day but if you don’t have the resources ready to take advantage of them, you’ll miss lots of opportunities.
2. During your normal morning routine of having some coffee or eating breakfast, watch some short, entertaining videos. It’s super easy to pull up some YouTube videos on your computer or smart phone.
3. While driving in the car listen to Spanish language podcasts. Podcasts are ideal for typically dull drive time. Most podcasts are free and can be found by simply searching Google, checking the iTunes store, or Google Play.
4. Create your own “audio flashcards” by recording yourself saying an English word followed by the Spanish word. These can be listened to in the car or wherever you like.
5. While standing in line at the grocery store, whip out your phone and review the digital flashcards I’ve made for you or any you’ve made yourself.
6. Download dual language childrens’ books to your Kindle or other tablet to read while you are waiting at the doctor’s office.
7. Another thing I do is read the Spanish wording or instructions on any products I see. It’s easy enough to figure out what “mayonesa” is when I’m holding a jar of mayonnaise.
8. Keep a Spanish dictionary in your car so if you are waiting somewhere, you can look up words for the things you see around you; trees, cars, houses, streets, etc.
9. If you plan to watch a movie, get one in Spanish with English subtitles.
10. Watch some Spanish language television. Univision, Telemundo, and other Spanish language networks are available through just about any cable TV system. If for some reason they are not available to you, you can simply visit their web sites and watch some of the programs there.
11. Periodically listen to Spanish language radio instead of your normal stations.
12. Make certain you plan some standard study time for your day as well. This is critical. Even if you can only work in a couple of 20 minute slots each day, this will add up quickly when you consider all the other chunky time you are utilizing.