Learning Spanish? Tell me about your daily routine

Learning Spanish? Tell me about your daily routine


I have done Pimsleur Castillan Lessons 1 and 2 but not very attentively. Lately I managed the get my hands on the entire Latin American version, Lessons 1,2,3.

My current routine:

  1. Take my notebook to work and get in about 30 minutes of study time at work.
  2. Come home from work and throw on Pimsleur Latin American Lesson 2.X -->
  3. Transcribe the entire lesson in Notepad.
  4. Take a nap.
  5. Relisten to the previous lesson and look at the Notepad with transcription.
  6. Do something else for an hour to clear mind.
  7. Throw on Pimsleur Latin American 1.X --> in case I missed anything.
  8. Transcribe the entire lesson.
  9. Watch an hour of Spanish TV while trying to transcribe it, look up any idioms.
  10. Write it all down in my notebook before I go to sleep.

My routine takes about 30 + 15 per transcription X 2 = 1.5 hours + 30 x 2 for the relisten = 1 hour. 1 hour of Spanish TV. 30 minutes to write it in my notebook 4 hours total. When I have done all the L.A. lessons and transcribed them I will move on the next thing.

What is your routine? I would like to compare, I think it would get us all in a better place to know what are the most efficient ways of learning by comparing how we are all "taking it in". So how are Y O U learning?

updated DIC 11, 2011
posted by jeezzle
Does the pimsleur say in the recordings whether its castillian or latin american? or you just know by the words/accent they use? - cheeseisyummy, FEB 15, 2010
The speakers use the "S" sound instead of the "TH" sound - So Latin America - patch, FEB 16, 2010

6 Answers


Wow Jeezzle, you are amazing!!! To know that you follow that diligent of a routine and still have time for this

No te me burles justo porque tengo mucho amor para las chicas gordas. Estas chicas necesitan amor también.

is awe inspiring!! wink LOL LOL

But seriously, my routine varies with each day. The one thing I do make sure of is that I spend some serious time studying Spanish every single day.

I definitely need structure and organization in this process, but I find that if I do the same thing every day, my mind starts to wander and I don't focus as well. So I follow the same basic structure daily (depending on time), but vary the materials used.

For instance:

  • I start each day by reading two to three chapters from an English Bible, followed by the exact same verses in my Spanish Bible.

  • I try to watch a Puerto Rican news show or something similar while I work out.

  • I work on grammar every single day, but I find that alternating books (up to three or four) is what works best for me. Even though the same topics may be covered, I find that learning them from different points of view is extremely helpful for me.

  • I watch and re-watch the videos on this site. I always catch something I missed on previous trips through.

  • I work on vocabulary and flashcard type studying while waiting at the dentist, doctors, soccer practice, etc.

  • I watch a variety of Spanish TV, which is abundantly available in my area.

  • I text and email Spanish speaking friends who make fun of my mistakes, but also help me to learn.

  • Of course I spend time here in the forum or working on flashcards.

I have no idea how much time I spend, but it usually varies. Like you, I sometimes have to take a break and focus on something else, which helps me to come back stronger for some reason. I use the exact same process with music. I might work on something until my head hurts. Later, I come back and magically, everything falls into place. I think our brains sometimes need a period of time to catch up to all of the knew information. But for whatever reason, this works.

I also find that the process of setting goals is especially helpful for me. This could be as simple as learning ten new words for the week or as big as being able to give a speech in a Spanish speaking country. Either way, the goals help me to push myself harder.

This is an excellent idea for a thread!! smile

updated AGO 22, 2011
edited by Nicole-B
posted by Nicole-B

Wow, you´re really doing it intensively!

Right now I´m taking a class in Latin American literature, so my routine is pretty much controlled by that, namely, about 20-30 pages of reading a week (along with looking up vocabulary, personalities, names and dates, concepts...), then 1 page essay every week. So all that takes about 8 hours weekly.

I also read alot -- I have 6 hour-long busrides every week, and I read novels in Spanish. My only criteria for these is that they were originally written in Spanish, not translated into Spanish. I´m primarily going for usages. I underline anything I find, then enter it into flashcards when I get home. I use a flashcard program that is keyboard-controlled and very fast, because I do hundreds of flashcards every week (sometimes hundreds in a day). In the last 3 months I´ve amassed about 6000 flashcards, but only about 900 that I need to keep studying, as I run into the rest when I´m reading.

Before I started taking the class I was doing bunches of grammar books, mostly from the "Practice Makes Perfect" Series. And before the sound broke on my computer, I was also listening to news clips in Spanish for 20-30 minutes per day.

Well, I guess its working because I´m doing really well in the literature class... smile

What TV shows do you like? Whenever I try to watch in Spanish, all I can find is cheesy talk shows where everyone yells at the same time. But then, I´m a TV snob. hmmm

Oh yeah, I forgot to say Heidi´s killer threads. That´s a category unto itself!!!

updated AGO 22, 2011
posted by kattya
What flashcard program are you using? Can you save your flashcards and export them for me? I use ANKI but I am open to any flashcard suggestions. ANKI is keyboard controlled as well, and I always need new cards. - jeezzle, FEB 15, 2010
I use flashcardexchange.com. If you search for "katya.nelson9 spanish" you should fine 15 or 20 sets. Feel free to use them if you like, the ones with "usage" in the title are probably the most interesting. - kattya, FEB 16, 2010
Ooooo, condolences, I HATED that class (Lat. Amer. Lit.)! Stick with all those other things you're doing though, those are definitely good ways/techniques. - Charlius, AGO 22, 2011

Jeezle, that's great. I transcribe alot, too, for me it's a big help to get my ears going. I transcribe the words to songs, movies, and teles. But I'm not as rigorous as you. Way to go!

I am in the states now. I managed to spend 6 months in Mexico last year and I lived with a Mexican family. Obviously this was great; some were easy to understand, some impossible. There were three other inquilinos in the house so 9 people total, but I was the only gringo.

I can't find an appropriate class because, even though my Spanish isn't that great - intermediate to my thinking - if I attend an "advanced" class here in the EEUU I might be the most advanced.

Beginning in September though I am taking a course in the local community college in Spanish film, we'll see movies and talk about them, so that should be fun and help me reutrn to a modest level of fluidez.

Other than that, I read novels in Spanish, and I have a weekly Skype conversation with my friend Normita in Mexico. As soon as my current work project ends, I'll go back to Mexico for another stint, as long as the Zetas haven't overthrown the government (OK, that was a joke. Sort of.)



updated AGO 23, 2011
posted by Jeremias

I read the initial post and then didn't post myself because I just sound pitiful next to the rest of you. But then I figured hey, why not jump in?

I talk to myself a lot. And I talk out loud to myself too. I try to practice thinking in Spanish while I go about my morning chores feeding critters and so forth.

I work all day and if I can I visit SpanishDict.com and play in the "Answers". I don't have a block of time I can devote during the day to serious reading, video watching, etc. so I have to sneak in something that will only take 5-10 minutes. Though now that I think about it, I can do one of Paralee's videos or a set of flashcards in that amount of time, and come back and repeat it later.

In the evening after work I try to spend a couple of hours studying Spanish. I like to change it up because it keeps things interesting. I either study here, or watch a movie in Spanish, or read from one of my old college texts. I also have a bilingual book that I want to drag out but just haven't yet.

I try to put in some time every day, and usually I succeed, but it varies greatly. Anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours if nothing else is going on.

Oh, I like the online chat here and the Saturday Tokbox voice chats. I want to check out livemocha.com too. I find that chatting really helps me to think in Spanish and to me that's the critical hurdle. The verbs and vocabulary will come, but thinking... that's my big challenge.

updated AGO 22, 2011
posted by Lrtward
Sounds like you're on a good track. I talk to myself all the time too, people are always asking who I am talking to. Le ha dicho...murmur....Asi que...mumble...but livemocha is troubling, too many people want your help, not enough want to help you. - jeezzle, FEB 16, 2010
Can't think of anything better than talking to yourself in Spanish!! Wish mine was advanced enough to keep up an interesting conversation. :( - territurtle, AGO 22, 2011

Do you use the scheduling function in ANKI? If so, do you find it easy to use? (easy to set up and quick to get through the cards?)

Ideally, it would be great for a flashcard program to keep track of ALL the cards you need to work on, even if they´re in different files, and give you a place to click to go to that day´s work. Does ANKI do that?

Flashcardexchange (see comment above) is kind of old school, but its easy to use and fast.

updated DIC 9, 2011
posted by kattya
Anki uses a scheduling function called Spaced Repetition, designed for long term memorisation. It keeps track of all cards in different files, and if you use the mobile phone version, you can review cards every time you have 20 seconds to spare. - stu40, DIC 9, 2011

I haven't played with the settings in Anki much, but it displays a card and 4 buttons (1,2,3,4 on the keyboard) Again, Hard, Good, Easy. I'm not sure if that's the order, but you get a run thru based on how well you will remember the cards based on which button you press and then it self schedules the remaining cards for whatever length of time it deems appropriate.

Example: (Box on top) Estuche (Blank box on button with answer button) Click next to reveal answer. (Box on bottom) M. N. Case (as in guitar or glasses case) Press 1,2,3 or 4 depending on how well you know the card. 1 will repeat it at the end of the cards. 4 will repeat in a long(er) time. I will download your program and check it out.

I would love to hear from Webdunce, Billy-jones, Fidalgo, Gus, Izanoni, Chapparito, Mountaingirl, Marianne, Valerie, Lisbeth, Issabella, Nila, Natasha, Daniel, Dandi, Jason7R, hisbookworm, Janice, cheeseisyummy and everyone else that is spiritually in my Spanishdict classroom. How are you guys learning? I'm calling you out. wink

updated AGO 22, 2011
posted by jeezzle
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