Boy, the problem is that we always had to write in English when I was at school, but we didn't have a chance to speak much. It was all about: read the text, then translate it, answer some questions about it and that was all. Most exercises were about written English much more than spoken English. I could learn what I needed to get a good grade, but having an actual conversation in English always resulted in a lot of mistakes. That's why talking with the native speakers helped me improve.
By the way, it's hard for me to imagine than native English speaking children say things like "maked", "goed" etc., because they are exposed to the language and listen to it every day, even if they were not taught any grammar yet.
Sorry, I meant to type "that", not "than".
Sanje, believe it, we make mistakes when we are young too. I can't remember myself as a young person of course, but my brother must have made all the mistakes you can think of. After he stopped saying "-ed" on everything to make it past, he learned the word "naked" and suddenly words like "baked" had two syllables. There are others too I just can't think of right now (it was so long ago!)
The biggest problem in our education system, when it comes to learning English (or foreign languages in general), was that we never concentrated on spoken, conversational English that much. We did have all kinds of exercises and tests, but they were more about spelling and grammar than about communication. I don't know if that has changed, but when I was in school it was that way.
Sanja, Same problems here as well in my country because most teachers can't speak English very well. As a result, they don't focus on spoken English as you said above. Trust me, they have to be blamed for our suffering. "That movie/flick sucks big time." Sanja, you had never read or heard this sentence in your class during those years. I can bet my bottom color on this. What Internet really helps me to comprehend is how native speakers speak and write their language on forums which I can never comprehend by doing those text excercises. There is still some gas left in my tank to keep going and not to give up on the way of mastering the language. I know I can't write as articulate as a native speaker but I'm just trying my best..
You're right, Boy. Well, my English teachers were actually good at English, they knew all the rules and made us learn them too, but we just never had an opportunity to practise the real conversation in English. Basically, it was all about reading and writing, repeating things that someone has already written before, but we never had a chance to develop our speaking skills and actually communicate in English. Internet helped me to realise how native speakers make their sentences and how to really express myself in English.