What moritz said++. He implied it but I'll spell it out: learning which follows intentional, purposeful steps is learning that sinks in the fastest and is the easiest to build. Practice isn't enough. In fact practice, if done incorrectly, can be a huge, crippling hindrance. This is counter-intuitive to most, I think, but any good teacher knows it.
We also learn better when learning is enjoyable. This is why I'm a Perl critter instead of anything else. No matter how hard it's been at times, it's almost always been fun.
Stick with the monastery and participate as much as you can. Try answering questions; even if you don't always post your attempts. Read anything in here that is of interest. This place changed me from a clumsy, chainsaw-style hacker into one sincerely interested in doing things right and in ways that will outlive the first draft.