My French is Going Downhill
...and that's before it ever got on top of the hill! I've also realised a couple more things:
I know what you're going to say... "get your butt back on Duolingo!"
Don't be so hard on yourself -- a semi-vacation should be, you know, a little "vacationy". Enjoy the break from your routines, and you'll find yourself looking forward to taking them up again as autumn starts.
I'm a firm believer in letting your brain (just like your muscles) have a complete rest from some things every now and then, and find that this is the time when some skills and knowledge end up being cemented, rather than completely forgotten.
Thanks for the pep talk :) In the past, I wouldn't worry about a couple of weeks or so... but seven weeks is a very long break. I'm a tad concerned over the prospect of getting back to French class and being totally mute! After it's been such an effort for my teacher to get me to say anything at all...
This is why my advice to people studying multiple languages, like myself, is 1) be realistic, 2) don't beat yourself up about anything and 3) be flexible, because life happens. That last one if very important for any of us who are adults and have adult stuff we have to take care of.
As for being flexible, I recommend finding easy ways to keep yourself exposed to your target language even if your schedule experiences abrupt changes. With French, for example, I follow about a dozen francophones on twitter who do micropoetry or tweet on topics I am interested in like languages, sci fi and science, so every day when I log onto twitter I can read a few short poems or something about science in French while browsing other things (I also limit the number of English-only tweeps I follow too, making my Twitter a pretty crazy mixture of tweets in about 10 different languages and I'm at the point I longer notice when I switch from reading one to another). I also listen to a lot of French pop music.
And like annika_a, a little break doesn't hurt. Breaks let us rest, regroup, reassess and recommit. Sometimes we really need that.
I'm sorry to hear about your frustration. I believe we all go through that at some point when we are learning a language. Taking a break is not a bad thing, especially if you really feel frustrated. Perhaps you have accumulated a lot of knowledge but, as Annika mentioned, it hasn't yet cemented in your brain. Because of that you may feel that your French is going downhill as you are not as fluent as you expect to be with that knowledge. I'm sure that if you have learnt English so well, you can also learn French. Good luck to you!
I guess the bulk of my frustration stems from the fact that I knew this was going to happen over the holidays, and I did nothing to stop it. Nor, for that matter, did I just accept that it was going to be this way and thereby circumvent the vexatious feeling of frustration and disappointment in myself. Only got myself to blame ;-)
I think staying motivated becomes difficult when you get to a certain skill level. When you first start you are constantly learning new concepts etc. After a while though you know the basics really well, you just have to keep polishing and strengthening those skills which becomes less exciting and motivating. I suspected this would happen when I completed the tree. I did the reverse one too and that was good, but I'm at the point where I've outgrown Duo to some extent. No other website/ form of learning has been as engaging as Duo. This means that like you my routine has collapsed and I'm studying less and less. I feel that my skill level has decreased recently.
I think it is important to get back on Duo as you say in your OP, but also to find a way that learning doesn't feel like a chore. It is starting to feel like that to me. You don't always have to follow your routine 100% all the time. It is good to have a break sometimes, but not to let that break go on too long. You can sometimes get burnt out studying too much. Good job on studying so many languages too, I've often tried to study others as well but find it too difficult and I try to focus on just one. Looking at your blog and stuff I think you will easily get back into studying and will be doing well again in no time!
I do find that I need to mix things up a little, i.e. use different resources to keep it interesting. That's why I'm dragging my feet getting back on Duo. I completed the French tree a while back, but somehow, starting a reverse tree doesn't appeal, even though I know it would be useful.