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Realistic duration/progression of course when used for homeschool (middle school aged) student

Hello all! I have searched & searched & searched to no avail but was unable to find the answer on my own, so please excuse me if it's a repeat or muddles up the forum flow.

One of the many things I love about Duolingo is the fact it's more or less self-paced. The fact my son can progress as quickly as he feels comfortable to do so is a HUGE plus & one of the main reasons I chose to use Duolingo for his foreign language curriculum. This fall, we will begin our 6th or 7th year of homeschooling (does pre-k or kindergarten even count? hehe), so I am not new to the homeschool world, but I am super-new when it comes to teaching a secondary language! I am a few lessons ahead of him already (insane xp vs serious xp), so hopefully we will be able to begin using our new knowledge in daily conversation soon!

I've been poking around, learning about assignments and how the school works with Duolingo. So far, I'm very pleased with it all. My son is really enjoying learning another language, too.

My question is: what is a realistic time for completion of the language tree? Is the whole course designed to be learned/taught in a year? Two years? I see other individuals asking about high school credits, but I am not sure if that is for a single year or what. I understand every person learns at a different pace, but I sure would like to have some sort of structure for this part of his education.

Thank you all in advance for ANY amount of insight/advice you are willing to offer!

June 28, 2018



If your son is going to retain the information he learns, the best way to do that is to keep all of the skills gold. Duolingo doesn't display the strength information on their main page any more, bizarrely, but you can find that information on each user's duome page, e.g. here's yours: https://duome.eu/Mariah_Quinn/progress.

I'm assuming he's going to keep the tree gold, and also that he's going to do some language work every day (or very nearly every day.) It's obviously going to depend how long he spends each day. If he does 20 minutes work for example, he might expect the course to take the best part of a year to complete, and another few months to revise it all thoroughly enough to make it worth while.


1) The old English-Portuguese tree (69 skills) took me ~1 year to complete when I learned Portuguese as my first Romance language from scratch.

2) DuoLingo trees, depending on their length, are IMHO constructed to be completed long-term, this means 1-1,5 years or more (depending on how actively you review old skill material and have them at 100% strength).

3) At the end I had to push forward a bit to get it completed.
I had pre-learned several "vocabulary skills" = levels on Memrise; this helped me as I had practiced the vocabulary several weeks before DuoLingo.

4) No, this does not mean that you or your son will be able to achieve crown level 5 for ALL skills at once in one year.
Basically it means that you will complete skills first time at level 1.

5) To sequentially level-up ~26 verb tense and additional grammar skills lesson-by-lesson to higher crown levels L3-5 ~2 years and above is easy reachable!

6) The old - pre-crown - Duo strength system (see duome.eu) used the practice feature to re-strengthen skills:

  • I used this extensively for the first half (or let it be ~60-75%) of my tree - this may nowadays map to crown levels 2 to 3 if you focus on "crown sessions" (starting new lessons).

  • I also heavily used the Memrise Portuguese course by MartinPen in parallel to DuoLingo to DAILY review learned vocabulary by RECALLING words in the target language and clear my backlog queue:

A) As you know DuoLingo does not focus on this for a forward EN-PT tree on level 0->1.

B) If you leave a good 3rd party flashcard software with a defined and more transparent spaced repetition (SR) interval out, you will be missing the most important part of language learning and to practice RECALLING words / sentences in the target language (ratio might change for good on higher crown levels L4-L5)!


7) A new tree EN-PT update (A/B test) has been rolled out in June 2018 which teaches grammar a little bit different and increased total skills count:

  • The vocabulary (lexemes) has also slightly increased.
  • I would "plan" for about 1,25-1,5 years for the new EN-PT tree to avoid "binge learning"
  • a new "Future Subjunctive" skill has been added too!

  • Even I have completed my old tree within one year I still have quite a few weak areas in more complex "grammar skills" (verb tenses, Subjunctives, etc.) at the bottom of the tree which I had not daily reviewed in the next six months period

  • The updated EN-PT tree took me some time to re-test out (refresh) several old converted skills and many suspended longer and difficult sentences from 4-5 years ago (high user error rates) had been re-shown on crown level L1 and L2.
    Quite challenging, even after 1,5 years!!
    BTW: This was with the old "lesson test-out" feature from the old DuoLingo (in the beginning of June; has been replaced by "A/B skill crown level test-out" at the end of June).

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