Monday, March 4, 2019

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review)


Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)


With graduation in sight, and the first year of college on the horizon as well, I thought it would be excellent timing for us to review the Victus Study Skills System. While it seems like by the time a student gets to their senior year, they should know quite a bit about how to study, there's always room for improved skills, and as Victus founder Susan Ison points out, we tell our students to study but we seldom give them instruction on how to do it. We used and reviewed the Student Workbook Level 3 along with the Teacher Edition.

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)

The Victus Study Skills System was developed by professional educators in order to provide this needed instruction in how to study, and based on the premise that these same skills can be applied throughout life. In fact, the name Victus is the Latin word for life. So rather than learning some specific skills, Victus takes a systems approach to study that includes time management, motivation, and goal setting, as well as note taking, test taking, comprehension, and information recall.

 Victus Study Skills System is available in four levels, from Kindergarten through college age. We received all four levels, but used the Student Workbook Level 3, which is suitable for students in Grades 5 through 12. And of course, we used the Teacher Edition as well.

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)

The same Teacher Edition is used with all four levels, although there is a Teacher Supplement to help with Levels 1 and 2. The Teacher Edition is spiral bound and gives introductory information explaining the philosophy and aim of the materials, as well as full teaching instructions. The instructions explain the teaching method, helpful techniques suggested for teaching, and a sample course plan. Each of the ten lessons has full instructions and reproductions of the pages from the student book.

The Student Workbook is also spiral bound and also explains the Course Aim. Instead of lessons or chapters, the workbook is organized into three Foundational Cornerstone Sections: "Where am I now?"; "Where do I want to be?"'; and "How do I get there?". Each has checklists, fill in the blank pages, helpful information, and spaces for students to write out their goals and objectives, work out weekly and monthly schedules, and summarize what they are learning.

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)

How did we use it?  The suggested teaching schedule is to cover the ten lessons over five days, with each session lasting about one hour. We started out using this plan, covering Lessons 1-3 over two sessions as suggested. From that point on, we found that we needed to split the remaining sessions into shorter time periods in order to fit it in among many other things we had going on. 

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)

The first couple of lessons focus on "Where am I now?" and help the student evaluate their current study habits and identify their individual learning strengths. This Study Habits Checklist helped Kennady see what she was already doing well, and which helpful habits she might need to develop or improve. 

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)
Study Habits checklist from Lesson 1, Student Workbook
There's also a survey for evaluating individual learning strengths, along with suggestions for making the most of your strengths and improving the weaker ones. Since the student workbook pages are reproduced in the Teacher Edition, I filled out these surveys as well, to see how my learning strengths might line up. 
Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)
evaluating individual learning strengths in Lesson 2, Teacher Edition
There's always an action step for the student to take, and after figuring out her learning strengths, Kennady was prompted to note some specific actions she could take to use her strengths effectively.

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)
Learning Strengths and action steps from Lesson 2
Lesson three is all about setting goals and measurable objectives, and establishing action steps to reach those goals. One of Kennady's goals was to keep her grade high in French, with an objective of a consistently high score on French tests; and some action steps she decided on were to study and practice every day, and make sure she was paying attention in class rather than letting her mind wander. 

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)

The next lessons get into some of the nitty gritty of time management, keeping the study space organized, how to effectively learn during class and study, and how to practice and prepare for tests. One thing we both thought was interesting was the perspective on preparing for tests. Since tests require students to give out information that they have (hopefully) learned, the best way to prepare is to practice giving out information by stating aloud the things learned after reading and by asking yourself questions and stating the answers aloud. I realized this is sort of what I'd been trying to do in the history class I teach at the co-op. Each week we talk about (state aloud) some important points from the reading the students have done during the week, then they write the quiz. Students also learn practical and efficient ways to take notes during a lecture or from reading. The final lesson focuses again on planning and preparing for tests, with strategies for planning ahead to test day and for mastering each type of test question. 

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)
Organization tips from Lesson 5

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)
from Lesson 6, Student Workbook
 Most helpful for Kennady so far has been the reinforcement that yes, she should be taking notes in co-op classes and she should highlight her textbooks. And yes, because auditory learning is her strength, it's great if she can read out loud and talk with a study buddy (or maybe me) about what she learned or needs to remember. That's what she hoped to gain from doing this review - being able to recall information that she's read accurately when needed during class discussions and for tests. Since I'm the teacher for a couple of those classes at the co-op, and sit in on another one, I think it's safe to say she's been doing better with that, even with the short time since working through this workbook. The tips for test preparation and for taking and using notes from lectures will be especially helpful as she prepares for and adjusts to college classes instead of homeschool study.

And speaking of college . . . that's when she'll be using the Student Planner that was included in our package! This isn't just a blank assignment calendar - it includes reinforcement of the workbook instructions about setting goals and prioritizing, and has a grade log.

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)
from the Student Planner

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)
Prioritizing a Daily To-Do List from the Student Planner
She'll also make use of the Student Workbook for College level as she gets started in the fall. It contains the same material as Level 3, but with additional material specific to college study, and it's laid out so the student can work through it on their own instead of relying on an instructor. One of the very helpful additions specific to college is a Sample Syllabus with explanation of how to use the information in a course syllabus in planning ahead. The Appendix is also full of helpful tips and information. This looks like an excellent resource for students heading into their first college experience!

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)


Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)
from the Student Workbook College level

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)
from the Student Workbook College level

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)
from the Student Workbook College level

I should also briefly let you know how the Student Workbooks for Elementary and Primary grades are set up. Level 2 for Elementary is designed for Grades 2-5 and the workbook is very similar to the one we used, but simplified to be age appropriate. The Student Workbook for Primary grades (K-3) is a much smaller booklet, and is simplified even further, suitable for younger students who are beginning readers. For example, a student using this workbook would draw a picture of something they want to be (a good soccer player or what profession they want when they grow up); and would answer yes/no questions about being a good listener. A Teacher Supplement booklet for both of these levels is designed to accompany the Teacher Edition and gives tips of presenting the material to these younger students.

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)

What we liked best:
  • the lessons are designed to be completed in just a few sessions. A daily session in a Monday to Friday week would be enough!
  • the emphasis on responsibility and deciding on action steps allows the student to focus on the specific habits, skills, and strategies she needs the most. 
  • since each workbook level has the same material, it's possible for all the students in the family to do the course at the same time. 
What I need to mention:
  • for all but the college level, teacher preparation time is needed. I chose to go through all the lessons in the Teacher Edition myself before starting with Kennady, but it would also be possible to just be a step or two ahead. It doesn't take a lot of preparation time, but plan on enough to look at the Student and Teacher books side by side and understand what each lesson is about.
Our bottom line: If I'd had this system earlier, I would have started off each school year with this as part of our educational boot camp. It would be an awesome introduction to a new school year, giving kids those study skills and time management tips in time for them to establish good habits right from the start. I'm really hoping that the Student Planner and College Student Workbook will be valuable tools for Kennady as she moves on in her education.

Victus Study Skills - A System for Effective Study (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com)

Would you like to establish effective study skills in your homeschool? Here's what you need to know:

Visit the website:  www.StudySkillsSystem.org
See the Products page for information and pricing for each of the levels, and the additional materials. 

Age recommendations: The workbook is available for four grade levels, ranging from Kindergarten to College.

You can follow Victus Study Skills System on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog for more information and to read other reviews. Crew members used different levels of the Student Workbooks, so be sure to check out all the reviews!



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2 comments:

Mother of 3 said...

I just purchased this yesterday with two of the student workbooks. My middle son has decided to go to a local tech high school and take advantage of their culinary arts program so I have one year to teach him how classroom life might be different from homeschooling life and I knew note taking/ test taking/ and organization were big things I wanted to focus on. I figured while I was covering that all with him I might as well help my high schooler since he'd like to take a few college level courses as soon as he gets his license and can join our local community college.

Lori - At Home where life happens said...

This looks like a wonderful program. I will have to keep it on my radar for the future.

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