I'd like to give a shout out to cb-chris for his wisdom and encouragement above - that sort of thing is just what we learners need to hear. Personally, I get a lot from the forum. I like to think that there's a whole bunch of silent "lurkers" out there who do too.
I've tried all sorts of different speeds over the last few months and, now on lesson 33, I've been on 20/4 for a few weeks. Once I've got to lesson 40 (and recovered from the celebration) I'll try 17/5 then 17/6, etc. For me, there's no right speed - I do whatever I need to do to keep going.
I try to do 3 half-hour sessions a day. I look forward to it so that's no hardship. Sure, it's a long haul, but that's okay as I'm enjoying it.
I probably should apologize to CB-CHRIS for not saying more about his wonderful words of wisdom. I hope you can accept my apology CB-CHRIS. :-)
I must say I am aggravated with myself for not keeping my past proficiency up. I am still ill but there was no reason other than selling off all my radio gear for dropping code. Now I am having to relearn what I lost to my own negligence. I was a 100% copy at 18wpm when I passed my Amateur Extra Class License exam.
Over my lifetime study has been easy for me unless it bored me. Anything that bored me received virtually no attention on my part. My high school days were not great but when I went to college I maintained an A average until graduation. I got to choose what I studied in College. .The few classes I had a lot less interest in received high grades from the motivation of not wanting to spoil my overall grade standing.
People are different, some read novels and some don't read. I chose to read textbooks, I found novels and other books were not enjoyable. The way we each are wired to learn is different. Many of us take a while to learn things and remember it for a long while. Others study fast and recall is shorter (maybe a few weeks) unless what is studied is used nearly daily. I took this fast route, logically it made sense to not put a lot of time into learning something I would hardly use. Those things we seldom use can be looked up in a reference book or textbook when needed.
During the days when my code speed was at an acceptable level, I learned by listening to tapes while commuting to work and back. This gave me a solid 2 plus hours of days of study, 10 hours a week. I could not write down what I heard but late at night before bed, I would spend another 15 minutes copying code with a typewriter. It took 2 months to learn Morse Code and attain an 18wpm solid copy with zero errors. I learned using the Koch method but learned the letters in a-z order followed by numbers and special characters. This course is different, it presents letters mostly in the order most used in writing. I can easily see a great advantage to learning code this way, it gives more repetition to what will be needed most. Anything receiving more repetition will be the easiest to recall.
On the topic of characters sent at(wpm), there is no doubt in my mind that we will see greater accomplishment by learning to understand characters sent at the highest speed at which we are able to easily understand those characters correctly. If more time is needed to write or copy received code we should reduce the effective (wpm)speed. I can see no advantage in reducing the speed of individual characters when our objective is learning to recognize them by sound and copy them down. Why would we want to lessen the speed of what we know we can understand? We should be increasing that speed as we make progress through the list of characters to learn. By realizing we will progress more slowly in the beginning we are acknowledging a fact. The fact that we improve through repetition and we best retain what we have repeated the most.
Frequently change your routine to make it slightly more difficult. This will stimulate your subconscious mind to pay less attention to code recognition you placed in your head and more attention to the sounds your ears are subconsciously hearing. :-)
Best of 73s de N9ZN, Tampa, Fl.