As a homeschool mom with a 10th grade boy who wants to enroll in dual enrollment courses next year, study skills are a major concern in my house. My son is very smart…I mean very very smart, but time management, organization, and studying….well, lets just say he could use some work in this area, and that concerns me because I know that when starts dual enrollment, he is going to have to be on top of things. That is one reason I jumped at the chance to review the Student Workbook and Teacher Edition from Victus Study Skills System.
What it is:
The Victus Study Skills System is a systematic approach to teaching good study habits. Specifically, it focuses on three “foundational cornerstones” that have kids focus on where they are, where they want to be, and what they need to do to reach their goals. While the program is intended for all ages, younger children would certainly need more support when using it. Personally, I would use it with middle school and higher. The student workbook contains the lessons and workbook pages. I thought the lessons were broken down very well, with none of the sessions being too long.
The teacher edition features copies of the student pages, answer keys, background information on the program, a suggested method for teaching, and lesson plans with teacher instructions. The suggested course plan has you finishing the book in five days, but I tweaked it and we spread these lessons over two to three weeks. The program is very easy to adapt to your own schedule.
Each lesson has some reading and discussion as well as some written activities for the students. The first few lessons focus on students doing a personal assessment of their learning strengths, with the following lessons in that section discussing how to design their study plans to utilize those strengths. From there, lessons move into goal setting, and finally, the nitty gritty of study skills, planning, using a calendar, and learning strategies.
How We Used Victus:
Like I said, our schedule did not allow us to do several lessons per day, so we took this one lesson at a time, and finished in about 2 1/2 weeks. Each day, I would introduce the lesson and my son and I would discuss the topic. Then he would complete the assigned activity. Some lessons had activities he did on his own, like the skills assessment and goal setting, while other activities were fill in the blank and we did those together. I would say that each lesson took us about 20 minutes.
What We Thought
I have to say, my first impressions of Victus were very good, and I found that the program more than met my expectations. First, I think this is just so appropriate for where my son is at right now. He knows he needs to do a better job of staying on top of things for school, he just doesn’t know how, and for some reason, when I try to explain it to him, it doesn’t get through. But with the way Victus is organized and presented, it just seemed like it made something click in his head!!
The skills assessment was his first eye opener. After seeing where his strengths were (kinesthetic and auditory) he was like “wow, that really makes sense..now I know why I couldn’t sit still in my class at school and always got in trouble”. I liked the fact that the program offers specific suggestions for how to use your strengths when studying that students can apply right away. Ideas like pacing when you memorize notes written on an index card, studying in different positions, etc. were things my son try immediately.
The second part of the study system I was really impressed with was the goal setting section. I have never seen the goal setting process explained so simply. After taking you through the lesson and showing you a page of sample goals, the student gets to make their own. Goal setting is broken down into three parts, the goal, the objective, and the action plan. This is so important for kids to learn!! Here’s the thing: we hear about goal setting all the time. The topic is on talk shows, and in magazines, but what good is setting goals if you don’t have a practical plan to reach them? With Victus, my son set real achievable goals for subjects he wanted to work on, as well as physical fitness and his music. He then went on to create a specific objective for each month, and determined what he was going to do each day to achieve his goal! And I am happy to say, he has stuck to the plan.
I would highly recommend Victus Study Skills System to any parent seeking to build good study habits in their child. The student workbook costs $20.00 and the Teacher Edition costs $40.00. You could try and use the workbook without the teacher edition but I would not recommend that because you will need the teacher book for the answers and some of the activities. I think the price is very fair. In fact, I had my 7th grade son sit and lesson while we worked on this and I want to get another workbook so I can go through the program with him too.