Steven: In the email announcing this post you wrote that you do a complete audio and grammar lesson daily. May I ask how much time you devote to Spanish each day? I think that I spend a lot of time learning Spanish, but with the longer lessons as the course progresses, I cannot get through an entire lesson in a day.
I know that part of the reason I am slower is that awhile back I adopted the Scriptorium Technique. So when I am studying a lesson I write each sentence in the conversation transcript and the additional vocabulary longhand. Then write it out again two more times as I work through the Hear it Say it and Know it testing sections (writing it on the computer in the Write It section does not count). For me anyway, this slow, methodical process is an advantage, because as I write and speak each word, I am able to think about that word, what it means, why it is where it is in the sentence, and whether it needs an accent. It keeps me from glossing over things that I am unclear of.
I also incorporate other resources into my "curriculum." I have a couple of easy Spanish readers that I read while eating, and I look for Spanish videos or podcasts to listen to.
I see that you have been at this for several years. Do you consider yourself fluent; able to hold a conversation in Spanish with a native speaker?
When I started RS my goal was to be fluent in a year. What a laugh! I work hard at learning Spanish every day, but after a little more than a year I realize that the more I know, the more I have yet to learn. I am going back to Cuba in December and I will be very interested to see how well I can communicate in Spanish and how often I will have to fall back on English.