Language Challenge 180: Day 1

by Corey · 6 comments

Welcome to Language Challenge 180!

This is the first day of Language Challenge 180 and we are absolutely delighted to have you along for the experience! As of today, there are over 650 of us participating who are interested in learning (or passing to our children) more than 50 different languages!

It is clear that you are a motivated group of people with a tremendous amount of knowledge, experience and motivation. We are delight to have the opportunity to share this journey with you!

Language Challenge 180 will provide you with weekly tips, inspiration and motivation but it is also about bringing people together to share their own resources, wisdom and camaraderie with another. Together we have all the tools we need to make language learning successful in our homes and our lives.

You are not expected to participate in anything that you aren’t comfortable participating in. However, we encourage you to connect as much as possible through our weekly contact opportunities. Working together will help us strengthen our languages more quickly and enjoyably. Who knows, you just might make a friend or two for life during this event!

What is Language Challenge 180?

When it comes to learning a language or passing one on to our children, the key component is consistency: doing at least a little bit each and every day. Often we have the best of intentions but we fail to actually act on our intentions for any of a number of reasons. What many don’t realize is that our languages wax and wane based on exposure and usage (even the languages we grew up with!). Languages are a little like muscles: if we don’t use them, they can atrophy over time.

Language Challenge 180 is going to help us focus on learning and/or using our languages each and every day (at least a little bit) so that they become a more comfortable part of our lives. For some of you, this will be about you or your children learning brand new languages. For others this will be about strengthening languages that have fallen into disuse. And for many this will be about helping our children master our home language(s).

Regardless of your motivations, Language Challenge 180 will help you make language learning a priority and, more importantly, a habit in your (and your children’s) lives. We can’t provide you with any magic elixirs. However, we will help you find the tools and materials you need to create that magic elixir for yourself. With over 650 people on board, we will be helping one another along the path as well!

My family and I are taking this journey right along side you. My children and I will be working on a new language (Spanish) while at the same time I will be doing my best to strengthen a faltering language (German). My husband will be working on a language that has long since fallen into disuse (French).

What to Expect

Each week you are going to receive two emails:

  1. Mondays: Email with information/tips plus a link to the activity page for the week
  2. Fridays: Email with check-in information plus the week’s prize giveaway announcement

Since we are in different time zones, I do my best to send out emails on Sunday and Thursday evenings (Pacific Standard Time) so that everyone will have them available fairly early on Mondays and Fridays.

These emails will be sent as text only (to ensure that you can read them with any email program). They will be clear, easy to read and will point you to the specific information and activities for that week. You are not expected to follow every activity in the weekly emails. However, we hope you will at least read through the activity page each week. You are encouraged to at least check in once each week with some kind of contact.

Today’s Activities

We will have more detailed information as this event continues but for now, let’s just jump in with some activities. These will help you build the foundation for your language learning adventure. You have all weekend to work on these!


Activity #1: Check out the Language Challenge 180: Headquarters page. This will be the main hub for finding Language Challenge 180 information and resources.Do the following:

  • Find the Language Resources section on the Language Challenge 180: Headquarters page,
  • click on each of the language pages that you are planning/hoping to work on during Language Challenge 180 and
  • tell us about a language resource (website, online store, etc.) that you recommend for that language in the comment section of the language post. (Maybe you know of one helpful website? Or a great children’s book in the language?)
  • If you don’t have a resource to share, go to the page for the language that you are going to work on and let people know what resources you are looking for in the comment section.


Activity #2: At the Language Challenge 180: Headquarters page, go to the General Information section, download the following two documents, print them out for each person participating in Language Challenge 180 and fill them out over the weekend:

  • Questionnaire #1: Language resources
  • Questionnaire #2: Language skill assessment

Once each of you has filled these out, keep them handy. We will talk more about your answers to these on Monday (and we will use them down the road again as well). Don’t forget to go to the Language Pages to share information about the language you are working on as well as to find out what others have already shared.

Native-speakers: please also feel free to head over to the Language Pages of your native language(s) and share resources that you know about!


That’s it for today. On Monday you will receive another email from us. Don’t worry! You will not be getting emails every day from us during the whole event. We just want to get you started off right these first 9 days!

Feel free to leave comments below! Share your experiences, worries, excitement and more!

This page is for Language Challenge 180 participants. Sign up now to join this event!

1 Francesca March 2, 2012 at 6:55 am

It’s a pleasure to be part of this outstanding initiative! Thank you for your work!
I will try to do my best to follow all the activities.
See you,


2 katie mildenhall March 2, 2012 at 7:19 am

Ciao a tutti,

I am a mother of 3, native English speaker, but we speak Italian at home. I just learned about LingQ last night after reading the LC180 email. I am curious to know if and how others might use that website with children. Is it something that they might be able to use?

Grazie in anticipo per il vostro aiuto,


3 Susie March 2, 2012 at 10:02 am


I’m a mother of two girls. My husband and I only speak english. However, our oldest daughter attended a Montessori immersion program(spanish) from the ages of 3-6. She is now 11 and has been able to maintain her spanish, but we would like to continue her learning at home. We would also like her learn mandarin. Ambitious yes, impossible no, at least I don’t think so. 🙂

Our 5 year old is in the immersion program and she tends to be very selective when speaking spanish. She only speaks to the babysitter in the minority language. Our goal is to build her confidence and encourage her to use Spanish more.
Having to bilingual daughters it only seems natural for me to learn spanish.

We’re look forward to all the activities!

4 Dominick March 2, 2012 at 10:09 am

Ciao Katie,
LingQ è davvero utile, almeno per gli adulti, ma per i bambini per la maggior parte userei LingQ come una fonte (gratis) di racconti con l’audio compreso, senza fargli creare un profilo e usare il sito direttamente. Nella biblioteca italiano ci sono delle belle collezioni di storie e altro contenuto adatto per i bambini. Ecco una collezione di racconti per i bambini, compreso i file audio del narratore e anche il video: Ecco il (audio) libro “Cuore” di Edmondo de Amicis: e qualche collezione di filastrocche e fiabe: e

5 Andrew March 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm

I am so glad to be apart of this. I have been learning Russian for 3 years Portuguese for 5 months and I have tapped in other languages as well. I have some websites if anyone is interested but I recomend for everyone to at least give a glance at as they have great products.

6 Jamye Stowell March 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Sorry for the late start. I was out of town last week. My daughter has been in a Spanish speaking pre-school program once a week and now in kindergarten is in an afterschool program once a week. We speak English at home and we are trying to learn Spanish. I am currently using the Spanish 1 online program through MIT (free!) which uses Destinos . For my daughter we are using Salsa (Also Free) . I also try to use Mango languages through my local library which is a free program that seems similar to Rosetta Stone. My other favorite online resource for both of us is Thanks for the motivation to work on something daily! I have also started a bilingual resources page on pinterest where I pin my favorite websites to keep them organized 🙂 Adios!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: