I still practice every day whether I do it in Duolingo or not
The cartoon owl gets sad if you don't do Duolingo every day, but he need not be because though I may not do Duolingo exercises every day I still can revise my Spanish in other ways such as studying from a Spanish dictionary at home. Is this a frequent occurrence for other Duolingo students? By the way this is not a criticism of the way Duolingo do things, just an observation.
I do five strengthening exercises a day on duolingo which is about a third of what I used to do. I have moved to other sites for the bulk of my study. Doing the strengthening exercises keeps my grammer up and I intend to continue using duolingo for a long time to come.
I like Duolingo a lot, it was just an observation that their cartoon owl that gets sad if a Duolingo student doesn't actually study duolingo every day almost like an assumption that if you are not actually studying on the Duolingo website then you given up your practice which for other students as well as myself is obviously not true.
He's like Santa. He knows what you're up to. He just gets sad if you don't come visit him. It's not a judgmental thing. It's a creepy dependent love thing.
I actually like his tears. I usually feel like "Aww, here, let me help...". But sometimes I feel like "Suck it up, you crybaby. I've been busy and I'm tired."
I have never noticed him, but I think I'd be inclined to tell him: There is no crying in language acquisition!!
Yeah, I use other tools as well and lost my streak because I prefer using them over duolingo. I wrote a chrome extension to hide streak stats on duolingo because of this. Having a streak was motivating, but losing it made me want to hide the data.
Beyond a certain level, DL is just not as effective as other ways of language acquisition. It's excellent for the complete beginner, up to low intermediate. After that, there are more efficacious, and frankly, more enjoyable, ways to engage with a language. Reading, podcasts, TV shows, etc.