Language Challenge 180: Week 11 Check In

by Corey · 15 comments

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10 Minutes Over and Over Again

How did things go this week? Did you come up with a variety of language activities, lessons, practice that you can do 10 minutes at a time? I hope so! It can make all the difference!

I notice how important this is for me. When I have an overwhelming task before me, I tend to procrastinate in the name of preparation: I feel that I can’t start until I feel that everything has been prepared perfectly… cozy spot on the sofa, tea in hand, the house quiet (and on and on).

Here are some examples of things I say to myself:

  • “I really should write down each word that I don’t understand in the German book I am reading… but I don’t have any paper or a pencil right now. I’m going to wait to read the book right now until I have those things.”
    Arghhh! Why don’t I just pick up the darn book and read it for 10 minutes. Who cares if I have a pad of paper to write down the words!
  • “I need some quiet time to work on German so I’ll wait until the kids are in bed.”
    Seriously!? When the kids are in bed I rarely feel up to working on German. I’d rather read a book in English or crash into bed myself. I’m tired in the evenings!
  • “I don’t like that audio program because it bores me to death.”
    Hmmm. Can’t I handle 10 minutes of it? Sheesh! Put it on while I am doing something even more boring, like doing the dishes or folding the laundry or ironing!

Excuses, excuses, excuses. I know it and you know it.

The key is to have some language activities that are short (aim for 10 minutes) and then you can do just one or you can put a few together and do 20-30 minutes all at once. The psychology alone will do wonders for your language learning. Rather than imagining an exhausting long-haul-language-learning-session ahead of you, focus on the quick 10-minute-language-learning-fun.

Read this week’s 10 Minutes at a Time post if you missed it! So many great ideas!

Today’s Check-In Activity

  • Check-In Activity: In the comment section below, share some of your favorite 10-minute-at-a-time language learning activities (for yourself and/or your children).
    Maybe reading a chapter in a book or reading a book to your children? Perhaps watching a YouTube video? Or maybe you have a favorite app that you use while waiting at the dentist’s or doctor’s office?
  • Giveaway: After you leave a comment below, head over to the current giveaway and enter! Once you check in, you can enter! It is a fantastic book that you will want to get your hands on!


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Keep an eye out for your next email which will arrive on Monday! Keep up the fantastic work!

1 Murray May 20, 2012 at 4:40 am

The 10 minute activities I used were the daily email from and TUFS language modules.

2 Jenny May 20, 2012 at 7:05 am

For myself, I love LingQ. I often only have little chunks of time here and there, and with LingQ I can listen to or read one or two 5-10 minute things in French. For my kids, I like to listen to a song or watch a Youtube video. We also sometimes do a craft together (lately it’s something I can find quickly on Pinterest) and I give instructions in French.

3 Rachel May 20, 2012 at 8:34 pm

For myself, I like memrise. Youtube videos are what’s working for my 4yo. Her favorite has been Emily Erdbeer. She knows the rule- Only German on the computer.

4 Maria Iskenderoglu May 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm

For quick short studies, I like to go over nursery rhymes with my daughter (English). For myself, I don’t have anything identified (Turkish). I like short clips on line. I have done nothing for my daughter or myself for language learning because I was ill with pneumonia and an monster asthma attack. I’m back and just waiting for the end of the semester (3 more weeks) and we will have a regular home study again.

5 Wendy May 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm

We listen to songs in Spanish as we’re driving the girls to school and then read the lyrics for the songs as a bedtime story that night. We also read a few pages in a book in Spanish at night.

6 Becky Smith May 21, 2012 at 10:29 am

My kids listen to Russian music as they are falling asleep. This gets the words in their heads without even thinking about it!

7 Tracey May 21, 2012 at 11:04 am

We are surrounded by Spanish but it is still a bad habit we have to code-mix. I need to make sure that we explain the girls’ homework in spanish especially as it is in Spanish – I need to be more purposeful or I talk to them in English (as we spent the first 4 years trying to be their English input – as there was no other) now i have to remember we will soon be there main Spanish imput except Sunday School.

8 Gale May 21, 2012 at 11:30 am

I sometimes read the Spanish version of directions on the microwave meals or other things like that to see if I can figure out how to do it just from the Spanish. Thats really a 5 minute activity though.

Another fave 10 minute activity is playing games on the Spanish MindSnacks app on my phone.

9 Laurie May 21, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Listening to Spanish tunes in the car is a favorite. We read a couple of books in Spanish at some point during the day. I do a little Spanish lesson during lunch while the kids eat. The kids really enjoy this, and if neighbor kids are over, I get then to join in, too!

10 Francesca May 22, 2012 at 1:15 am

For my baby: nursery rhymes and books (I’m starting to use some nice App on my i-phone).
For me: Elementary english podcast from the British Council.

11 Lilian May 22, 2012 at 5:28 am

Well… We don’t do a lot of “activities,” but we try to constantly talk to the boys in Portuguese (my husband and mind’s mother tongue). This week, however, my husband did something different and extra fun with the boys — he went online and found the audio to some “story albums” (LPs back then) that he used to love to listen to in his childhood and he played the tracks as my boys played Legos. Then, in the evening he remembered that we had a CD with some other really funny stories and he went downstairs to the family room with the boys and played the CD for them. Each story is less than 10 minutes long, but they wanted to hear them over and over again and yesterday I heard my son humming one of the songs to himself! It’s working!

12 Heather May 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I really enjoy reading a few pages of a book for a short activity, or playing games on my iPad or iPhone in German. Short and sweet, and I feel I get a lot out of it.

13 Warren Talbot May 28, 2012 at 12:52 am

Joining the party a bit late, but glad to be getting engaged.

For us we listen to a podcast everyday which helps us listen to the language and get our lessons together. Then we can apply what we learn in our discussions together that day. It has been a great way to combine our studies and also is a commitment we enjoy keeping each day.

14 Azzuro Liz May 29, 2012 at 3:46 am

We listen to kids songs in English while sitting in the car, favortie songs are : the wheels on the bus & incy wincy spider… Now Lorenzo (2 1/2years ) sings them to his sister Eleonora (8 months) who just loves it!!!

15 Claudia May 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I don’t have many toddler books in spanish, so I translate from english to spanish as I read out loud… or just make up the words as I go!

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