Last day of my seaside holiday.
Sunday morning we got out on the boat. The waves were modest, the sun was shining and there was a steady breeze to fill our sails.
So, with the sailing, and with the work involved in our Easter Offer, there hasn’t been much time to start on the long list of things I’d planned to catch up on over the holiday weekend.
For example, I haven’t done any Swedish, even though I brought my course book with me.
That said, I CAN report that I’ve been making good progress.
I’ve now completed unit 8 (out of 20).
My objective, if you remember, was to get to the mid-point of the book and then re-evaluate.
I reckon I’ll make it by the end of April.
Have I learnt anything?
Well, I can understand the written and spoken texts in the book.
I’ve learnt lots of new words.
And I’ve absorbed at least a vague idea of the grammar.
Out in the real world, I’m picking up bits and pieces of conversation.
My mother-in-law, who we’re staying with this weekend, is Swedish.
Leafing through her (Swedish) travel magazine yesterday, I was able to recognize the topics of articles from words I recognised in the headlines.
‘Travelling with CHILDREN’
‘MUSEUMS to visit in London’
You get the idea.
Learning is very satisfying, when it happens, isn’t it?
But anyway, so far, so good!
I’ve put in, say, 50 hours of self-study spread over maybe four months.
At a cost of zero, given that I inherited the book itself from my daughter, who did a course in Stockholm last summer.
See the benefit of having a study plan, and (mostly) sticking to it?
A level a year should be easily-manageable for most people.
But this isn’t a nag about planning your studies.
Instead, today I’m singing a paean to course books, without which I surely would have got no place, fast.
The tome you see in the picture above is no wonder of the pedagogical world.
I like it well enough, but the material has its flaws, which are clear for any experienced student to see.
Nevertheless, following the book solved the “Oh my God, what do I study next?” problem that I’d had when trying to learn with random materials from the Internet.
One weakness of the self-study approach to language-learning is that you have to make your own decisions regarding:
- what to study
- in what sequence
- with what priority
- using what materials
And while that gets a lot easier with practice, when you’re starting out with a new language, by definition you’ll not really be in a position to make good calls.
There’s also the point that, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have preferences regarding what and how you study.
Which may not be valid, and can therefore seriously distort your approach!
The risk is that your likes and dislikes will lead you to over-prioritise or neglect certain elements.
Personally, I’ll ignore off-putting areas of grammar, while never missing the reading and listening components!
You may be prone to do the same.
Or the opposite, who knows?
Either way, it’s suboptimal, in terms of learning efficiency.
Following a course book, however imperfect, increases the liklihood of balance, which is a good thing.
Arguably, even an imperfect course book is a lot better than nothing.
At least until you get the idea of where you’re heading, and reach the point at which you feel confident making your own decisions.
And another thing…
The fact that the book is structured for you, in chapters with numbers, each containing material sequential to the previous and appropriate to the level you’ve reached?
Besides taking away the decision-making, that can be SO motivating!
Where you get to in the book, or in the sequence of books at different levels, is a good guide to the progress you’ve made, or not made.
Look at me, I got to unit 8 in the beginner book…
Cavolo, I am so pleased with that!
Anyway, where is all this going?
Yesterday I mentioned our best-selling ebook, The Tenses You Need To Speak Italian.
(Thanks to those of you who bought a copy, overnight!)
While ‘The Tenses..’ is not exactly a course book (more a grammatical overview of a particular aspect of Italian), what we went on to do next was.
In the end we managed five levels of the Italian Workout! series, and very popular they turned out to be.
Often people will purchase not just their current level, but the previous one (to revise and consolidate) and the next one up (for motivation!)
So, if you’re feeling the need for some structure in your learning, you might want to take a look.
Here’s a link to all five levels of Italian Workout! on one page, in our new shop.
Click on the image for the Italian Workbook at your level to read more, and to find the link to the free sample download.
The free samples are not just a chapter but the whole first quarter of each book!
Or follow these links to go directly to the book for your level:
Stock up today on online Italian lessons and/or ebooks for learning Italian to save 20%!
Copy and paste this coupon into the box in your shopping cart (where it says ‘Apply coupon’):
easter offer 2017
Italian lessons / ebooks can be bought in EUROS from onlineitalianclub.com, with payment through Paypal, here:
Or from easyreaders.org in British pounds, with payment through Paypal, Amazon or bank transfer (if you have a UK bank account) here:
If you’re unsure what to do, check out the ‘how to use the coupon code’ page.
The explanations, pictures and links are for the club shop, but the process is identical in the new shop.
(Note that, once you’ve applied the coupon code and pressed the button, you won’t see the actual item cost change – you need to scroll down the page to see that your order total has been discounted.)
- Coupon code easter offer 2017 gets you a 20% discount on lessons and ebooks
- It’s valid through 23/04/17
- There’s no min. or max. spend
- It can be used multiple times until the end of the offer on 23rd April 2017
- It applies to items on sale too (but cannot be used with other coupons you may have)