Learning a Language at Home: How It’s Different and How to Do It

Do you speak any languages other than English? If you don’t, you have some catching up to do if you want to keep pace with your global counterparts. While many other countries begin foreign language learning at the elementary level or even earlier, the United States treats it as an elective afterthought in high school.

However, resist the urge to fall into the negative-thinking trap of, “I’ll never get the knack at my age.” Your brain is a muscle, and you can train it by keeping it active. One way to do so is through mastering a foreign tongue — here’s how to learn a language at home without leaving your comfy pants.

Differences Between Home Learning and In-Person Classes

If you shy away from learning a language at home because you have flashbacks of laboriously conjugating Latin verbs, take heart. There are considerable differences between in-class and independent instruction, and you’ll revel in many of the latter’s advantages. Here are some benefits to keep in mind:

1. Practice With Others

The one advantage that in-class instruction does offer is the ability to practice your new tongue with classmates sitting near you. However, you can overcome that hurdle. Why not sign up with an international pen pal program and find a buddy who is a native speaker of the language? If you can find someone who wants to work on their English, better yet. Once you become acquainted via snail mail, you can exchange phone numbers or even set up video chats to practice.

2. Learn at Your Own Pace

Unlike classroom instruction, independent learning is self-paced. The only downside is that you must discipline yourself to stick to a schedule, lest you lose progress. However, you can consider this need an additional lesson in time management.

3. Start at the Correct Level

Sometimes, you can grow frustrated with at-home learning solutions that offer one-size-fits-all programs. If you’re building on the basics that you remember from high school, apps such as Busuu allow you to take a placement test to determine your correct starting point. That way, you don’t waste time — you immediately dig into the meaty stuff.

4. Choose Your Curriculum

Many language learning apps include packages of multiple languages. You might start by learning Korean, then decide you’d rather master Italian. You can make the switch without spending any additional dimes.

5. Focus on Improving Weak Areas 

With classroom instruction, you have to keep up with the rest of your study mates. When you pursue independent study, you can take your time reviewing concepts that challenge you.

How to Learn a Language From Home 

You’ve decided that you want to master a new tongue without leaving your couch. How can you learn a new language from home? Take the following steps:

1. Find the Right App 

A wide variety of language learning apps exist, and many of them offer free trials. Why not experiment with a few to see which platform suits you best? If you have a larger budget, you can invest in more than one to get a more immersive experience.

2. Enroll in an Online Class

If you don’t need college credit, why not reach out to your alma mater about auditing a class? When you select this method, you don’t get credits, but you can often sit in live classes for free. If you live alone, taking an online class is a great way to fill your time and give you a goal to work towards — and if not, make sure you have a room or some space for yourself to dedicate to class sessions.

3. Seek Books and Programming in Your New Tongue

Even if you have the money to travel, it can prove problematic with the COVID-19 pandemic. If you don’t have the means or the desire to immerse yourself in a foreign land, you can seek out books, movies and television shows in your new tongue to recreate the experience somewhat at home.

4. Make a Schedule 

If you study randomly here and there, you will lose much of the progress you make — it’s natural because human memory is fallible. Put your lessons in your weekly planner so you can keep moving forward.

5. Have Fun and Minimize Frustration

Learning a new tongue is a challenge, and that’s a positive thing. Without a bit of sand, after all, clams would never produce pearls. Avoid the temptation to throw up your hands. Have fun! The beauty of learning a language at home is that you don’t have to stress over grades or competition.

How to Learn a Language at Home the No-Stress Way 

If you have always wanted to know how to learn a language at home, you now have your road map. Enjoy your educational journey.