Apps like MosaLingua are encouraging more and more adults and children to stray away from traditional language classes, and instead pursue learning from the comfort of their own home. If you don’t already do any work from home, you may have trouble visualizing how your living space could help you be productive. But if you are thinking about taking on a new language this way, there are lots of ways to optimize your living space for maximum language progress. The best way to learn language at home is to turn your house into a veritable language haven.
The great thing about this is that it doesn’t have to cost you a thing. But, the more you invest into making your home conducive to language learning, the more time you will want to spend in it actually doing the learning! Start slowly, with one or two small changes, and gradually introduce as many of these ideas into your home as you like.
Make Your Home a Language Learning Haven – The Best Ways to Learn Language at Home
Make Your Home a Language Learning Haven – The Best Ways to Learn Language at Home (Video)
Dedicate Space to Language Learning
If you are really committed to learning a language at home, you’ll dedicate certain spaces in your home to your mission. This could be an office or a corner, but it doesn’t have to be limited to one area. Fill your home with as much language influence as possible!
Get in the Zone
Some people need peace and quiet for traditional language study. If this sounds like you, find a secluded space in your home that you can use when you want to get work done. This could be a whole room, a desk, or a corner of your living room floor filled with pillows. Help your brain associate this space with learning and focus by trying to only use this space for these types of activities.
Incorporate Language Learning into Your Daily Routine
If this doesn’t sound like you, that’s okay too! You make up your own rules when you decide to learn language at home. Whether you study language at a desk, or on the couch after work, try to make it as much of a routine as possible. We are big fans of the 30-day challenge. Another way to dedicate space in your home to language learning is by hanging up a calendar for this challenge. Put it somewhere you’ll see it every day, like on the fridge or by your bed. It will serve as a visual reminder to do your daily language practice. Check off each day, and try not to break the chain!
Along these same lines, use your home’s decoration to motivate you to learn language. Hang up pictures of your travels. Even better, display pictures of places you’d like to visit when your language skills are up to par. Every time you pass the photos of beautiful Venice in your hallway, you will be that much more likely to keep up with your Italian flashcards. This is another way to hold yourself accountable for making progress, since guests might ask about your unique decorations!
Learn Language at Home the Fun Way
Now that your home is starting to feel like a language haven, start filling it with fun tools and activities. Here are some learning tools you probably won’t find in traditional language classrooms. No textbooks allowed!
In the Kitchen
One of my favorite alternative language learning activities is to test my newly-learned vocabulary in the kitchen. Find cookbooks or recipes (you’ll find thousands with a quick Google search) in your target language. See which ingredients and directions you recognize, and which ones you need to look up. You’ll get to taste authentic dishes and learn something while you do it. It’s a win-win! Just be sure that your answers, and any measurement conversions, are correct before you start cooking – a mistranslation could have a nasty result…
In the Bathroom
Surprisingly, some of the best language practice happens when you have some… “free time.” Stock your bathroom with light reading – in your target language, of course! Get a magazine subscription, or some books of short stories, to keep you busy while you take a bath or do your business. Multitask during the 10 minutes you spend in the bathroom each morning shaving, brushing your teeth, or putting on makeup, by simultaneously listening to the news or a podcast. Start your day off right, learn language at home!
In the Bedroom
It’s not what you think! At MosaLingua we actually conducted a study to see if language can be learned during sleep. And you might be surprised at the results! Spoiler: it can! Another good way to practice language is to journal. Challenge yourself to write about your day in the language you are learning every night before bed. Read back through your bedside diary from time to time to see how much progress you’ve made.
In the Living Room
In the living room, and in any room, actually, a fun way to learn household vocabulary with the whole family is to go on a Post-it rampage! Make a sticker for all of the words you are trying to learn, and see how many you can place correctly. Leave them up for a few days to memorize them, and then try again. You can also dedicate a shelf in your entertainment center to foreign films, TV series, CDs, and games. Have a foreign language family fun night once a week, and let a different person choose an activity from the shelf.
The More the Merrier – Invite Others into Your Haven
After all of the hard work you’ve put into turning your home into a language learning haven, it would be a shame not to share it!
Get the Whole Family Involved
If you choose to learn language at home, this provides a great opportunity for family activities. Even if you aren’t learning the same language, sharing your progress with family members and holding one another accountable is great for motivation. Nearly all of the learning activities and techniques we mention in this article can be done as a family or with roommates.
Host Language-Focused Events
But let’s say you live alone… never fear! We have a solution for you, too. Why not think about hosting language-centered events in your home, such as a country or culture theme dinner party, an afternoon of coffee and conversation, or a foreign language book club or movie night? There are also solutions to cater to different levels (or people who aren’t studying language at all but want to join in the fun). Put on the subtitles or choose a book that is also available translated in English.
Welcome World Travelers
If you have the space, consider signing up with Airbnb or Couchsurfing. These tools can be awesome friend- and language partner-finders! By opening your home to guests from all over the world, you may have the chance to get authentic language practice (and in some cases, make a few bucks, too). I personally have stayed in Airbnb’s in over 5 countries, and have always had a positive experience with my host. Most hosts are very happy to have you as a guest. And they’ll be even happier if you can exchange in both of your native languages. You may even end up with a penpal!
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