Language Challenge 180: Week 4 Check-In

by Corey · 40 comments

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

Congratulations! You made it through Week 4! How did it go? We hope you were able to stay motivated all week long! Did you do at least a little bit each day for yourself and/or your child(ren)?

Did you go to the Language Page(s) or Multilingual Living Forum and make contact with other families? Here is your chance to find others who are just as excited as you and your family are with language learning.

Got 10 Minutes?

I hope you got the chance to read the post Helping Children Learn a New Language: 10 Minutes at a Time! If not, go read it right now. Whether you are learning a language for yourself or are passing on a language to your children, these same principles apply: a little bit at a time all day long goes a long way!

Yes, those who learn a language quickly are putting in a lot of time. They make sure to surround themselves with the new language all day long and to use the language at every opportunity. They often hire tutors and utilize Skype and chat programs to communicate with others from home. Maybe they even move to the country where the language is spoken so that they can be surrounded by it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Most of us doing Language Challenge 180 don’t have that luxury. What we can do is to incorporate in language learning and exposure in as many 10-20 increments as possible. A music CD in the car, a well-chosen YouTube video now and then, lots of reading out loud and as much conversation as possible (even if only with simple sentences and in short bursts).

Today’s Check-In Activity

Note: You can only enter this week’s giveaway if you are (1) signed up for Language Challenge 180 and (2) completed the week’s check-in below

  • Check-In Activity: In the comment section below, tell us how much time you believe that you devote to your own and/or your child’s language learning each day/week.
    Maybe you can only devote 15 minutes a day? Maybe 120 minutes a day? Or if you are raising your child in your language, you might be able to devote much more than that?
  • Giveaway: After you leave a comment below, head over to today’s giveaway and enter! You are now qualified!


Don’t forget to visit the Multilingual Living Forum to ask a question, start a discussion or give someone else some support. You do NOT have to log in to post there. We encourage you to check out the Language Challenge 180 section as well as the other sections.

Keep an eye out for your next email which will arrive on Monday!

1 JenneferJ March 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I devote about half an hour a day to helping my youngest with Japanese. We work on learning the katakana, he already knows the hiragana. And then practice reading aloud from his reading book. He is really starting to enjoy the reading book. He isn’t very impressed with the writing part.

I spend another half hour a day on Japanese for me. Mostly at Lingq and with my textbook.

We all spend three hours on Saturday mornings at Japanese school.

2 Monika March 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I devote about two hours a day to Italian for me, and an additional 30 minutes to an hour a day (also Italian) with my daughter.

3 Michelle Gannon March 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm

My children have a babysitter who helps me get them ready each morning so the children get a full hour of Mandarin-only time each morning. On the weekends, they are allowed to watch TV only in Mandarin. They get to watch a show each day – so about 90 minutes.

4 Mary Kay March 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm

My child is only two. We’ve incorporated her target language at breakfast. When she asks for something, like milk, in either Spanish or English, we also practice saying it in Bambara. We are also scheduling regular visits from her cousins so she hears Bambara on the weekend, as well as scheduling sleepovers in their home for a bit of an immersion. It’s not consistent, I can’t say how many minutes a day, but it’s slowly becoming part of her world.

5 Karolena March 29, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I speak in Spanish all day with my son, and he’s with me most of the time.

We spend at least 15 minutes listening to Arabic (in the car) every day and then whatever I can get in for me to practice reading as well as reading books to him- maybe 4-5 hours a week of Arabic practice. More when there’s a holiday and I have more time 🙂

6 john m March 30, 2012 at 12:44 am

I took Spanish in the evening at the community college and try to speak as much to my daughter who is in Spanish Immersion program and now is in advance Spanish classes in high school. She is studying to take the Spanish AP exam. Hope she does well!
Early on I tried to get her to take Mandarin, but that was too difficult to learn English, Spanish and Mandarin in elementary school…it lasted for about 5 years before the Mandarin was dropped.

7 Melissa March 30, 2012 at 1:30 am

Probably 5-6hrs of ‘not really trying’ exposure to Portugese when my husband is home and he is talking to our son in Portugese. I try for 30mins a day of watching a dvd/listening to music with my son most days (he is 1yr)

8 Tiphanya March 30, 2012 at 3:01 am

I’m stil not really good with regularity, so at least 15 min, and max 3x15min. Mostly with songs and some easy sentences.

9 Jenny March 30, 2012 at 4:23 am

We spend about 15 minutes 3 days a week and 30 minutes 2 days a week on learning French. I already speak French, so teaching the kids helps me keep it up. I also listen to a LingQ lesson here and there when I can.

10 Margareta March 30, 2012 at 5:49 am

I speak Slovak to my daughter all day. It is our language and it feels natural. The only time I use English is to address both my daughter and my husband simultaneously.
However, now that she started kindy I want to make sure we devote the afternoon to as many meaningful play activities as possible to keep up the Slovak, especially to keep up with all the new things she learnt at kindy in English.

11 Terra March 30, 2012 at 6:02 am

I spend about 15-30 minutes a day on myself and about 15 minutes a day reading with my son. We’re working on adding more throughout the day!

12 Simon March 30, 2012 at 6:45 am

Some days we do a lot, other days only 15 minutes. My son listens to the Muzzy soundtrack as he goes to sleep every night, and I’m not sure how much that counts. 🙂

13 Amanda S March 30, 2012 at 7:42 am

I have been spending about 15-20 minutes a day with vocab and a little bit with grammar.

14 Crystal Farmer March 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

We only spend a few minutes each day. I’ve been singing to her in Russian before bedtime (she’s 9 months).

15 Mikayla March 30, 2012 at 11:05 am

I get to have my K-6th graders once a week for 30 minutes. I’d love to up this to 2-3 times a week next year.

16 Zsofia March 30, 2012 at 11:34 am

I think it varies for our family. Speaking to them maybe a total 30- 1hour. Reading daily about 15 min. Singing daily 10 min. Weekly we watch a dvd or listen to cds. The kids spend a few hours with grandparents every week who speak mostly in the target language. Sat. is Hungarian school for four hours of non-stop activity in our target language.

17 Anne March 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I devote between 3 hours and a full day (I work full time so it’s depends on the day of the week) to speak French to my son. He’s OPOL English / French (minority language). I also use DVDs in French.

18 Jessica Ward March 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I read only French books to my daughter throughout the day and use the phrases and sentences I know concerning our routine (meals, etc.) She watches only French DVDs (not everyday) and listens to French children’s music. These are just small things I can do since I am not fluent. Normally we have a Belgium woman come in 5 times a week for an hour, but her parents are visiting this week (we MISS her!). I would say we spend 25% of our day in French. I can do better! Thanks for this assignment. I WILL DO BETTER!!!

19 Erin Johnston March 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm

We try to spend at least 15 minutes in the morning listening to my daughter’s favorite nursery rhymes in French. French is also sporadically thrown in throughout the day at meal time, during play, or at the grocery store. We used to listen to French in the car but got out of that habit somehow. I hope to bring that back!

20 Brian Dykstra March 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I spend about 30 minutes everyday translating Portuguese text into English so I can read about stingless beekeeping in Brazil.

21 Tracy Brady March 31, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I teach French, but devote a few minutes each day to Spanish with my daughters

22 Denisa March 31, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Every morning before school about 30 min., and then after school about 2 hours.

23 Wendy March 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm

I spend about 30 minutes listening to Spanish lessons as I drive to and from work during the week. My daughters have a 30-minute Spanish lesson at school 3X a week, a two-hour Spanish lesson after-school on Friday and an hour lesson with a tutor on Sunday. We also do short 10-minute activities as we can fit them in each day (e.g., reading a story in Spanish, listening to a song in the car as I’m driving them to school). This week we starting reading the words to the songs together before they go to bed.

24 Sarolta April 1, 2012 at 5:37 am

Target languagae is used at home outside of daycare hours, French is only 15 minutes at a time a few times a week and in a monthly playgroup.

25 Emma April 1, 2012 at 8:31 am

It depends on the day of the week, I mostly chat to my son in German when it’s just us but try to focus on Gaelic when he goes to Gaelic playgroup Wed and Thurs. I don’t speak much Gaelic but on those days we only listen to Gaelic CDs in the car. Mondays and Saturdays I’m at work and we visit grandparents so it’s mostly English days for him then.

26 Joe S April 2, 2012 at 4:10 am

As a bilingual teacher I believe that I devote my entire day to my “children’s” language learning. Teaching and encouraging this is a challenge. The balance of teaching English to Spanish speakers, as well as language maintenance, and at the same time Spanish to English speakers within my same classroom is tough, but I love it!

27 Francesca April 2, 2012 at 4:35 am

Each day I try to read at least one story in english with my child and to speak with him in english when it’s bedtime.
As a language learner I try to read and listen and practice my english everyday…how much time is difficult to say…1 hour/day could be a reasonable average time.
Sorry for the delay 😉

28 Celia April 2, 2012 at 4:50 am

We spent about 30 minutes a day at least in the target language;-)

29 Melina April 2, 2012 at 4:55 am


Most of the book learning….about 15 mins is during the day, and when my husband comes home he speaks German all night, and at the weekends. We spend four weeks in Germany every year…this is the second year…and the boys are much more keen to practice now that they know our holiday is only four months away.

We do only 20 mins of Spanish lately…but I tell myself that bit will make a difference in the long game.

30 Maria Iskenderoglu April 2, 2012 at 5:01 am

Dead computer at home. Hope it is replaced soon.
I spend about 10 hours a week with my daughters English and not so much for myself.
It depends on how much I get out of the house. My guess per week is 2-4 hours a week.

31 Alex April 2, 2012 at 5:38 am

I can’t say the exact time, but we listen only to music in German, listen to about 30 /45 minutes of Rosetta Stone, read a kid book ,and have deleted all the English game apps on our iPad. Five minutes of Flashcards, and some conversation each day . The book that my eldest takes every where is ” Mein ertes Bilder Wörterbuch”. It’s harder incorporating the Spanish and French, we just play games with them.

32 Amy Van Vranken April 2, 2012 at 8:00 am

I spend about 15-20 minutes a day on reading and repeating after the narrator to practice my oral skills. This past weekend I had to write a few emails in French, which took some time! The kids are in French class at school, so all I really do to support them is play French radio in the morning ( as they get ready for school.

33 Thea April 2, 2012 at 10:26 am

It really depends on the day as our kids are in school, so language learning is secondary to school homework 🙁 But during the week it’s more exposure with books, tv and music and conversation so probably 1 hour a day in German sometimes more. Weekends we have more exposure to German.

34 Shannon M April 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Our consistency has waned the last week+ due to being too darn busy. Still, I figure my daughter probably gets a cumulative 30 mins/day of Spanish, largely through talking with her daddy. We’re still trying to have her read (or be read) a book in Spanish every day but have only managed 1x or 2x this past week. Both kids are also taking Japanese lessons weekly, though, and we’ve had unexpected opportunities to work in more Japanese practice. So overall, we’re making progress!

35 Alex April 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm

We just got our workbook and kid books in the mail! Our exposure hasn’t waned, but the never ending enthusiasm that was present for the last three weeks is fading. Watching others speak online, books and movies in German really gives back the energy, and making a need for the language is working.

36 Mary Kay April 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm

We have not been consistent, but I at least try to get some words in Bambara said to her on a daily basis. I’m inspired by how dedicated others are to this process.

37 Tracey April 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts I still only spend about 50% of my time speaking spanish to my girls as I have got used to being their only English source and have to change my mindset. Often we speak a mixture but I really hope to increase the Spanish at least 10% per month until it is almost the only language i speak to them. I think there will always be some things I will say in English and I will possibly speak some English when we are in NZ and their homework is in English. But the goal is at least 80% Spanish.

38 Jennifer April 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Not doing so great this week. I’ve spent less than 15 minutes a day doing Spanish with the kids but we have some new Spanish books from the library that I’m planning on reading to them this week.

39 Alex April 5, 2012 at 5:16 pm

We have added reading, and I am actually getting it . At first , “Der Kleiner Prinz” was confusing, but bit by bit, I can understand my Mommy’s language! I feel like the consistent reading is helping.

40 Katina April 8, 2012 at 1:57 am

I spend about 15-20 minutes a day reading and working on vocabulary. My daughter loves it and she is really starting to catch on. It is great making it a habit and then she knows to remind me to do it.

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