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How To Learn English At Home

Category: Language Training | 2017-07-15

You have decided to improve you English language skills. Great! Unfortunately, you don’t have the time or money to take professional Business English lessons or travel to London for an English course. No problem! You can easily learn English at home. And, better still, you can do it on your own schedule!

With English, as with any language, there are four main skills to work on and improve. All of the major English language exams (IELTS, Cambridge, TOEFL) use them as a template for their testing. These four skills are reading, writing, listening and speaking. We’ll look at how to improve your skills in each of these areas, as well as some general best practices. Armed with these tools, you’ll be ready to learn English at home and boost your confidence for work and travel.

Let’s take a look at you can start learning English in the comfort of your own home!

How to Learn English at Home

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Best Practices

Before we get to the specific target areas, let’s look at some best practices when learning English. Ok, what is it we want to do? Easy, we want to learn English at home. How do we do that?

Well, the most important thing to remember is that regular practice is better than long hours of intense studying. So, try to add as many simple things to your daily routine as possible without getting in the way of your responsibilities.

The easiest, and at the same time the most difficult way to improve your skills, is to start thinking in English. Now what does that mean? Well, all day long we talk to ourselves. Yes, even you! We all do it. What you have to do is try to have these conversations in English. At first, it will be hard to stay on target. But, the more you do it the more natural it becomes.

Don’t worry! You can make as many mistakes as you want. The idea here is to try to get you thinking in English and keeping that part of your brain active. So, the next time you take an English call at work, you are ready to jump in and start talking.

As your grammar and vocabulary knowledge improve, you will be able to look at the phrases you use objectively. Then you can analyse if they were correct or not. At this point, your learning will really take a leap forward!

Another great way to use English regularly is to substitute it in your daily tasks. You can write your to-do lists in English. Or, your shopping list. When you leave a not for your partner on the kitchen table, do it in English. It doesn’t matter what you write, it’s important that you are spending your time thinking in English.

The more time you spend each day thinking in English, the stronger you will get. Keep reading for more specific ways to learn English at home.

learn English at home


Do you read? Why don’t you make your next book or blog an English one? “I can’t read in English, it’s too hard” you say. Well, if you are trying to read English at the same level as your native tongue, of course it is! You have to take into consideration what level of English you have. Even native speakers don’t start reading for several years after they have been speaking.

If you are a beginner, start with children’s books. Now, this is where a lot of adults run into problems. Our egos get in the way of us reading at the appropriate level. You have to bite the bullet and accept that, in English, you may still read at a child’s level….for now. Don’t worry, it will get better!

As a rule, you should be reading books with no more than one or two new words per page. More than that and you can easily become frustrated with the book. When that happens, it stops being fun. And without fun, you will never learn!

Write down your new words in a separate book and take some time later to find out what they mean. Don’t let one or two words take you out of the story. Enjoy the book for what it is and work on learning vocabulary after you are done. The real key is in having fun while using English. That is the best way to learn English at home.

learn English at home


Writing in English has added challenges, in that, you have to form full sentences. Or do you? If you decide to write a daily journal, then you can write however you want. Certainly, aiming for complete and correct sentences is the goal. But, maybe you aren’t there yet. Not a problem, you will be soon!

As always, this should be a fun exercise if you want to benefit from it. To start with, set yourself a limit of 15 minutes and write what you can about what you did that day. From the smallest detail to the biggest challenges of the day, you can write it all down. As you get more comfortable, you will be able to write more and for a longer time. If you want. Again, the best way to learn English at home is regular, short and enjoyable exercises.

Another way to practice writing in English is to find a pen pal. Go to Facebook and check your friends list. Do you know a native speaker? Ask them if they would be interested in writing back and forth once a week. They could write in your language to practice and you could write in English. When you get a letter, edit what they wrote and attach it when you send your reply. They can do the same and over time, you will both get better!

learn English at home


With regards to the English language exams, the listening tests are always the hardest. There are tough accents and the people speak quickly. Without regular practice listening to people speak English, this can be extremely difficult.

One of the best and easiest ways to get used to hearing English speakers is to watch TV or movies. Netflix is great for this because you have several audio and sub-title options. The most effective method is to watch the shows with English set for the audio and sub-titles. This way, if you miss what was said, you can follow along with the text. Do not use your native language sub-titles. You will stop listening and simply read the conversations, and you won’t get any benefit. As you get better and improve your skills, you will be able to drop the sub-titles altogether. It may be quite challenging at first, but the reward is worth it!

If you are not into TV or movies, perhaps audio books would be a better fit for you. You can do it while washing the dishes or cooking, or anything else around the house. You can listen to them on your commute to work or while working on a report. This makes for a very flexible exercise and can really boost your listening skills.

Check out this great 4 minute classic from Roald Dahl!


Speaking English is probably the most difficult aspect to add into your routine on a regular basis. Usually, you don’t have many contacts or friends who are native speakers. Furthermore, it can be embarrassing to speak English when you are not comfortable with the language. But, like most things, it gets easier the more you do it. So, where can you interact with native speakers and practice your small talk skills?

There are many options, but one of the best choices is to find social groups with English as a common language. One group I would recommend is Internations. This is a group for Expats and other internationally minded people looking to connect. As English is often the common language for foreigners, it is a great opportunity to speak and practice your English. Almost every large city in the world has an Internations chapter with dozens of events each month.

Another great way to meet native speakers and chat with them is to look for English pubs. Most cities have at least one, and it is sure to be full of English speakers. Head out for the night and try to make friends with someone sitting at the bar. Have a beer and share some laughs and in no time, you will start to feel more comfortable speaking English.

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Putting it All Together

Now that you have some best practices and some specific exercises, you can start to learn English at home. Pick one or two that will suit your lifestyle and slowly add more as you find the time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a perfect vocabulary. It takes time and effort, but if you do things you enjoy in English, your skills will improve. As your confidence builds, you can tackle bigger challenges.

How do you learn English at home? What are your tricks? Let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter for more tips, articles and exclusive deals. Thanks for reading!



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