Does your child have poor study skills? Or does he or she want to become more efficient or effective in keeping up with homework, studying for tests, or organizing his or her time? I know that study skills have been a weak area for Emily. Some of my older children seemed to intuitively manage their time well and developed fairly effective techniques for studying on their own. Emily hasn’t done this, so I was very happy to have the opportunity to try the Victus Study Skills System with her.
There are several components to the Victus Study Skills System:
- Teacher Edition ($40) –Teaches the 3 foundational cornerstones of the program and teaches each study skill in detail
- Student Workbook ($20) –Helps students learn and practice each study skill
- Student DIY Workbook ($25) –Can be used by students independently
- Classroom Video ($30) --Shows the process being taught to a classroom
- Power Point ($25) –Slides for classroom use
We received the Teacher Edition and Student Workbook for the purposes of this review. (Although there are different purchase options, depending on customer need, the program is complete with these two components.)
The Victus Study Skills System, designed for 5th through 12th grades, can be easily used in either a classroom or homeschool setting. The program does not teach an assortment of unrelated skills, but rather, is a system of study that aims “to equip the student for success in academics and in life.” It is based on three Foundational Cornerstones:
Within each section are checklists, worksheets, and questionnaires that help students discover and articulate their learning styles, their strengths and weakness, and their goals for the future. Within the “How Do I Get There?” segment, which comprises over half the program, students are taught guidelines for managing time and organizing their study environment. They learn and practice techniques for studying a passage of reading material, taking notes, and test taking. The Appendix includes flashcards that review the key points of the program, and some additional surveys and practice materials that reinforce the 10 program lessons.
First, I skimmed through the entire Teacher’s Guide to get a feel for the entire program. There are 10 student lessons, but a suggested teaching schedule is provided that groups lessons together so that the whole program can be taught in just 5 sessions. We actually devoted 7 days to the program, then spent several more days doing some of the additional activities in the appendix to reinforce the lessons. We typically spent about an hour each day learning study skills. While covering this program, Emily discovered her primary learning styles, learned the difference between goals and learning objectives, and practiced writing and implementing learning objectives. She learned techniques for better reading comprehension, taking notes, and test taking.
Most of the time was spent learning the skills, rather then using them, so we are now spending time putting what she has learned into practice.
I thought that this program was a nice length. I was rather surprised at the suggestion to complete the entire program in 1-2 weeks, but we found this easy to do. I felt that Victus gave Emily tools that she could use (and tools that I could suggest to her) in a short period of time, then set her free to practice them in her regular schoolwork. We will be reviewing the techniques frequently, and I’m already reminding (or assigning) Emily to use the PQRST technique while she reads a science chapter or English assignment in the hopes that it will improve her comprehension and memorization of key facts. Since note-taking is a skill that she has not had to use much before now, I’m having her start to take notes on our read-aloud history time. I am sure this will improve her retention as well as give her a skill that will be valuable in high school courses and in college.
Although a few of the suggestions given in the books were applicable only to traditionally-schooled students, such as writing down homework before leaving each class, and checking planners before leaving for home, most of the material was very useful for homeschooled students. In fact, I found a few areas, such as note-taking, that she might have learned already were she in public school. We’ll be sure to work those into our days.
If you would like your students to become more disciplined and effective learners, I highly recommend the Victus Study Skills System.
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