English is the language that is most spoken around the world and there are millions of websites that will give you a thousand and one different resources to learn from. Many of these are internet users who, with the right resources and discipline, have learned to speak a foreign language without attending formal classes for even a single day and without having travelled or lived in a country where the language is spoken.
The essential question is: How can I start learning English at home? In this article, we will talk about our recommendations on how to make your English learning more effective. The only thing you need is a reliable method and the desire to learn. Are you up for it?
Find study companions.
Learning English at home is an activity that you will enjoy much more if you have one or two friends with whom you share this goal. You can practice your lessons together, resolve any doubts as a team, and even motivate yourselves to continue learning. You can even find yourself speaking English together in moments of leisure and fun!
Use authentic materials.
Most textbooks and online courses offer a wide variety of articles, videos, and audios to fine-tune your language skills. In addition, it is interesting to supplement your learning by reading news sites, blogs, or watching TV shows and movies to increase your vocabulary and learn more about the Anglo-Saxon culture.
Learn about the culture.
This recommendation is closely linked to the previous one. When you explore a culture, you discover a new way of thinking and doing things. If you are going to learn English from scratch at home, remember that it is very likely that you will run into someone from the UK, the United States, Australia or another English-speaking country at some point in the future and you will need to communicate with them. If you already know a little about their culture and history, you will be able to have a very pleasant conversation and learn more about their language or any other topic.
Read books in English.
English books are also considered to be authentic materials, as we talked about in a previous recommendation. We have decided to include the reading of literary material in English because books are the richest source of vocabulary, expressions, verbs, grammatical forms, and culture. If you are just starting out, do not throw yourself at James Joyce’s Ulysses all at once. Try novels such as George Orwell’s Animal Farm or Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Or maybe some book that has been made into a film as this will help you to follow along with the story even better.
Talk to yourself in the mirror.
Have you already heard this advice? There are many vocal sounds in English that sometimes do not exist in other languages. To pronounce them well you have to practice a lot. If you do not have someone to guide you, you can practice in front of the mirror and look at the movements of your mouth, tongue, and lips. Sometimes you may think that you have made the correct sound but when you look in the mirror, you may notice that you did not open your mouth wide enough or that you put your tongue in the wrong place.
Set realistic goals.
Learning a language takes a lot of time, dedication, and effort. Many internet learners decide to throw in the towel just a month or two after starting because have not seen significant progress. It is important to remember that you will not be able to speak a language perfectly in two months. This is simply not possible to achieve, even if you live in a place where everyone speaks the language that you are trying to learn. Some more realistic goals are to learn 15 new words per week, to use at least 3 new verbs when speaking with others, to write an email without many misspellings, to learn the rules for conjugating the past simple, etc.
As you know, it may take more than a year for you to learn the language you want to speak. If you are going to invest so much time in an activity, it is best that you have fun doing it. Again, this is where we return to the recommendation of looking for movies, books, or radio stations that you enjoy. A friend to share your goals with will also make this experience something that you enjoy and want to continue doing every week. What if you could make friends online to practice the language with? Having fun is a non-negotiable part of learning English at home!
Learning English at home can be highly motivating while requiring a lot of commitment and perseverance at the same time. If you are interested in improving your English level, why not try our online English course? ABA English has developed a course that includes 144 free video lessons and the same number of short films that will allow you to learn English in context, without neglecting either your grammar or communication skills.