I'm now officially done! :) I think it was quite a successful mission. I've learnt so much about studying, and how I learn best. I would say that it became easier to fit in my language learning once I had, not so much a goal, but a framework to go by. I did end up tweaking it quite a bit. The times I've written are the minimum. Often once I started I went on for much longer. My routine ended up (mostly) like this...
AM: (Ideally this would be early, however most days I didn't manage to get up as early as I would like! After years of staying up late to study this is a hard habit to break, so still a work in progress).
- 20 minutes of a Michel Thomas lesson
- 10/15 minutes of flash cards (I have to admit I ditched Anki. I know most people love it, but it just wasn't working for me. So I've gone back to making my own handwritten flashcards. I just find this easier as I can write down words/phrases immediately, and it's so much quicker. Might be showing my age there ;) )
Afternoon: (usually while making dinner)
- Listen to Russian radio/podcast (I try to aim for 30 mins).
PM: I've either been working through a Russian course book (Russian step by step as mentioned in a post below) or doing a listening and transcribing activity (I aim for at least 20 minutes).
I also do at least 15 minutes of memrise here and there throughout the day. Plus I'm re-doing the Michel Thomas lessons over (and over!), so I might listen to the same lesson 3 days running. I appreciate that while self-studying I can take as long as I like, and re-do activities/lessons as much as I need.
Sometimes I do something different. I have a couple of beginner Russian books, so I might read those in the evening instead, or I'll watch a Russian movie (usually a children's film/cartoon) on youtube. Fridays are my catch up days so I try to get to things I've been slacking in.
Apart from Anki the other thing that didn't work for me was exercising/walking while doing/listening to a Russian lesson or podcast. For some reason I didn't seem to take it in. I kept catching myself day dreaming or zoning out, and I'd missed what was being said for the past 5 minutes! So, I ditched that idea quite quickly!
What I discovered from this is that listening is huge, and something that isn't emphasized enough. I missed listening to Russian for just a couple of days, and when I did listen to some Russian radio again it sounded like someone had sped it up! It's amazing how fast you get used to the speed of it, but also how quickly you can find yourself back at the start...
The writing and transcribing was also incredibly helpful as you have to listen very carefully, and you start to be able to pick out words and letters you don't hear when listening through just once. My 'ear' for Russian has definitely improved, and while I still don't particularly enjoy writing in Russian it is getting better!
So, altogether it has been a really helpful process. I intend to stick to my above schedule as much as I can, although I have also been dabbling a little with Dutch (but that's another post!). I'd really recommend taking a look at Ron's website/book if you want to do your own 21 day language blast.
The Language Surfer
Language Master Key