1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Balancing languages and school


Balancing languages and school

As we all know already - School year is now upon us. With just a few weeks left to relax and learn languages, soon we won't have time. Or will we?

I know, going into 10th grade, that learning Portuguese, Norwegian, and possibly Turkish will be really hard to do along with soccer.

So I'm asking anyone to give tips to everyone on how to balance good grades (above 4.0 gpa) with sports, sleep and languages.

Any ideas?

August 14, 2017



Just to remind you that school doesn't start at the same time everywhere in the world...

I'd recommend ranking your languages by how important they are to you, and only doing the most important one on particularly busy days. Once you've got that one up to a certain level, it needs less attention and you can shift your focus to another one.

Learning a language takes years, not months, so don't try to rush it. And have fun while doing it!


I'm not really sure what to say, but it sounds so hard!! =D Since maintaining your grades is challenging plus the languages and sports, I think you could do your studies first (homeworks, projects, etc). Then if you do sports everyday, you could probably do that after studying to help your mind working to practice your languages!

Sorry if I could only give you the least tips :( But hope that helps! =D


Well you can do at least five minutes a day of the school days and a little more on the weekend. Most of my weeks were like that when I was in high school and learning three extra languages actively outside of school.


Too many languages, pick a couple and focus on them.


This year (grade 11), I've managed to balance good grades at school (above 19/20, which is considered excellent in Greece, though I'm not sure about its GPA correspondence, since I've never been educated in an Anglo-Saxon country), a couple of extracurricular activities, a TOEIC preparation English course, as well as self learning Japanese (both on and outside duolingo). It worked, so I guess I'm qualified enough to answer your question.

In order to make it happen, you must have excellent time management skills and be completely dedicated to your goal. Always try to set both short- and long-term goals. Some of my goals this year, for example, have been to get higher than 19 on both terms and finish the Japanese tree before my birthday, in early August. Short-term goals can be about test grades or your ranking in a local soccer championship.

Besides that, it's highly likely that you'll have to give up some hobbies and prioritize others instead. For example, you will be probably able to continue learning Portuguese and Norwegian, but you might have to delay Turkish until next summer, if you want to keep your GPA high. Just think about what is more important for you, as well as what will affect your life in the future. A low GPA can ruin your chances of getting into a high-ranked university, while giving up a third language, although it would be a great loss, won't affect you that much.

I hope this helps. Good luck! :-)


That's probably above 4.0. I'm trying to get into Brown University so I need 4.0's. I had 3 last year but I slipped in the last quarter, so my overall gpa so far is around 4.10. Maybe Norwegian isn't the best choice. It's fun, but not really important.


Every language is equally important. It depends on what you plan to do in the future. If you want to go for a master in Norway, then Norwegian will be more useful than Spanish or Mandarin, for example. Furthermore, I think that Scandinavian languages are in general a really good choice for busy people, since they are "closer" to English and do not require a lot of studying time. :-)


On weekdays, as far as the languages are concerned, concentrate on Portuguese.


  • I don't see Turkish on your profile yet.
  • Norwegians are good at English anyway (OK, most peoples are better at English than English speakers are at their language).
  • Your Portuguese appears the most advanced of the three.

Weekends and holidays add a little Norwegian (or Turkish) practice in. A couple of revision lessons and perhaps one new lesson just to keep some course progress.

If you do extra physical training at home or by yourself (like jogging, or anything) for soccer, see if you can get hold of some audio (for any of the three languages mentioned) or a radio station to listen to. Even a recording of yourself saying a whole load of sentences from Duolingo. (This doesn't work so well when at practice with others.)

For me, sleep ends up as more important than the others - without adequate sleep you won't be at your peak mentally or physically the next day. If it's a choice between sleep or breaking your sleep pattern to do some language learning, choose sleep.


1) Be interested in everything.

2) Learn what interests you (already established as everything).

3) Don't worry about schooling, which has around a 1% efficiency in doing the above.

4) Sport is just physics; study physics instead. The only difference is that most physics instructors are not sadists. Then, don't 'train', just practise applying physical laws.


I'm with you on 1 and 2, but 3 and 4 only apply if your schooling and sports teachers are garbage.

For better or worse, your school results do matter in terms of further opportunities (and often also the institutional and/or parental funding of those...) so that really compounds the effect of your school results on your future.

But kids nowadays seem less uninterested and more stressed than anything else, so don't stress too much.


Agreed. While it would be great if schools only taught children what interested them, it's just not practical.


Most (primary-and secondary-education) teachers are people who couldn't get any further in their respective subjects; 'if you can't do, teach!', as the old adage goes. After all, teaching the basics requires a good grasp of only the basics. Some are genuinely good at teaching, of course, but they are a small minority in my experience. (In tertiary education there is the opposite problem--people who are masters of their fields but do not know how to teach it effectively.)

Of course school results matter, but I say be interested in the world and use your native wit; nothing taught in schools is hard. And always look at past papers, too...


"Sport is just physics; study physics instead."

While I'm enamoured with physics, I find that it doesn't do much to reduce the chances of heart disease or other problems related to a sedentary lifestyle.


No, indeed; it is assuredly biochemistry that will do that...


But not on its own. If you leave it to its own devices, the result is amusing for some, catastrophic for others.

As we're both physics buffs, we're both that all natural systems tend towards entropy when devoid of outside influences. 'Entropy' in this case means obesity, heart disease and atrophy.


I mean teach an understanding of the biochemical and physiological processes involved and people can make their own lifestyle choices. Short, shouty men have only ever succeeded in making me despise rugby.

The second-law analogy is silly; life itself locally breaks the second law and locally reduces entropy. Follow 1) and atrophy is unlikely (there are too many interesting things to do). And a great deal of heart disease and obesity is genetic, so won't be solved by shouty men at school.


"The second-law analogy is silly; life itself locally breaks the second law and locally reduces entropy."

I never pegged you for a Creationist! Life doesn't violate the Second Law, as living things aren't closed systems. Life is a delay in entropy, not a halt. We still break down like everything else, and we do it extremely quickly relative to everything but our own perception.

Entropy can only decrease in a system that's devoid of outside influence. Life appears to reduce entropy to an uninformed observer, but our bodies are actually constantly working to fix and shore up the effects of entropic processes.

Every single cell division is a fight against the Second Law.

"And a great deal of heart disease and obesity is genetic, so won't be solved by shouty men at school."

When I responded to 'sport is just physics', I was talking about sport and exercise in general, not school sports teachers. I'm guessing you must have had a really terrible one. I sympathise. It can be helped by exercise was my point.


Funnily enough, my physics teacher was kinda short and shouty, but I still loved physics (and being the only female in his class only made me want to work harder at it). :-)

I did a lot of physics and maths at school because I figured I can learn languages on my own (although being in Finland, I of course still did several languages). And now there's Duolingo and the like...

It does sound as if you have had unusually bad luck regarding your teachers, though. Of course not every teacher I had was great, but most were at least good. But it's not the first time I hear such negative remarks about teachers and school on here, so there really seems to be a big difference between different countries.


'Breaks' was perhaps a bad choice of word on my part. We certainly break down at present, but the second law does not forbid us from achieving immortality using technology--it simply insists that entropy increase elsewhere to compensate.
However, the second law is merely an observed phenomenon, rather than something that is necessarily intractably wedded to an eternal mathematical truth. It is not completely infeasible to hypothesise that the proliferation of technologically-advanced life throughout the universe could eventually have a global effect on entropy, and then the second law might be in trouble (sufficient redistribution of energy could halt and then reverse cosmic expansion, for example).
I seem to have digressed somewhat from the original subject; apologies! Yes, I dare say I have an excessive bias against games masters and the like--it is possible that they are drawn from the ranks of Humans rather than Morlocks in other countries...



I had a tall, shouty physics teacher and a short, brooding, Bond-villainesque one; I have fonder memories of the former, even though he was something of a fanatical disciplinarian, albeit the latter knew more physics.
All my maths teachers were pretty hopeless (bad maths teachers are unforgivable, given the amount of near-impenetrable jargon the subject contains).
I don't know how languages are taught in Northern Europe, but you all seem to be terribly good at English--this is more understandable in the case of Northern Germanic languages that share great similarities with English, but curious in the case of Finnish, which shares practically nothing. All British schooling gave me language-wise were odd vocabulary items that were drilled in enough to stay with me forever; in retrospect, all languages were taught with mind-numbing inefficiency.
Of course there were some good teachers, but certainly not most. Most were probably good at their respective fields, but not at teaching them. In general, I feel that schooling could have taught me inconceivably more during the time allotted, or have taken vastly less time to teach me what it did.

This was, at the time, in one of the top-rated, most-selective schools in the country, incidentally; I hardly think I had bad luck--goodness knows what people in the worst schools had (and still have) to endure...


WHAT how many langusages have you got dude


I don't know how many languages you are already learning at school, but I would limit myself to three languages maximum (including those taught at school).
It also depends on your fluency, if you already have a good grasp of a specific language you can just read a bit or watch movies in the evening in your target language instead of doing it in English (or whatever your mother tongue is) and remove it from that maximum limit.


Hm... From my own experiences of being an honor student and someone who was also involved in many extracurricular activities (not trying to brag; just bringing some context of what my high school life was like), not to mention learning French, the only major advice I have is to manage your time based on priority. For example, I was in a Symphony, so there were times I had to sacrifice practicing French vocab for practicing my violin. Since soccer will be the activity where practice times are out of your control, I suppose you can work everything else out that can be controlled around that. To reiterate what some have been suggesting, perhaps you should choose the language(s) that are most important to you and that will make your schedule more flexible.

I know how difficult it may be to manage your time, especially in high school where kids are often too busy to even socialize. I'm probably not the best person to trust since I'm a horrible time manager, but I survived (barely). You're head is in the right place, so I know for a fact that you will be successful! Good luck and have a nice school year!


Use breaks and lunchtime?

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.