You might be wondering about the tutoring sessions when you are going though the 625 words and creating sentences out of them. When do you get to the rules of grammar?
I do a few different things. 100% of the time in the first 2 months and maybe 80% of the time afterwards, my goal is just vocabulary acquisition. I want examples of each word on my list that shows me how to use those words in a sentence. I want them to refer to experiences in my life – either things that happened to me in the past, events going on right now, or plans for the future, etc.
That’s a lot of grammar, all on its own.
Once I’ve been doing this for a while, I’ll start getting a better feel for how the grammatical system works overall, and where I’m missing pieces. For example, I’ll realize that I’m pretty proficient at conjugating verbs in the past tense, as long as they’re about "ME", but not if they’re about “You” or “They,” since my examples are all personal. I might come into a tutoring session then, with the express goal of trying to make some sentences with new vocabulary that also incorporates “You/They” conjugations in them. That will slow down my sentence production, but fill in some key holes in my knowledge of grammar.
I came into a tutoring session a few weeks ago, with the express goal of trying to come up with examples of the subjunctive in Spanish. I brought a list of verbs that trigger the subjunctive (I hope that X, I wonder if X, I suppose that X, etc.), and my tutor and I did our usual thing with new vocabulary, but tried to make my sentences fit the subjunctive as well. I’ll probably need to do that a few more times just to get the various subjunctive tenses done.