Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Victus Study Guide- TOS Crew Review

As part of the TOS Review Crew we were recently introduced to the company Victus Study Skills System that publishes- what else- the Victus Study Skills System.  This system was the direct result of tutors that saw that kids did not need help to learn as much as they needed help in learning HOW to learn.

Victus Study Skills Review
For review purpose we received the Victus Study Skills System Student Workbook and the Victus Study Skills System Teacher Edition.

Victus Study Skills Review

The Victus Study Skills System is recommended for 5th through 12th graders, but can be used for younger children with more parental supervision.  For this review I used it with my 6th and 10th grader and purchased an additional workbook to use. 

The Victus premise is about study skills.  But it is so much more.  It is about knowing your learning style and then using it to maximize your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses.
The three foundational cornerstones are-

  • Where are you now?
  • Where Do you Want to Be?
  • How do you get there?

In 10 relatively short chapters, one of which is a review, Victus Study Skills System will take you on a journey to discover for yourself those things.

Chapters 1 and 2 explore the Where Are You aspect.  After filling out a study habits checklist, your child answers some short questions and tally their score to see exactly what type of learner they are- auditory, visual or kinesthetic.  Then there is a chart that gives you helpful tips on techniques that will help you learn more effectively.

Chapters 3  covers Where Do You Want to Be.  This section helps your child think about and plan out their goals.

Chapters 4-9 teach how do you get there-specific techniques that will help you get to where you want to go- not only in studying and in learning, but also in life.  Areas included are time management, organizing and study environment, the PQRST technique, listening skills, note taking, and test taking.

The final chapter is a review of all that has been taught. 

Each chapter has a fill in the blank section for the concept being taught, as well as activities pertaining to that concept.  For example, a calendar for creating a schedule or a goals worksheet to fill out.

Victus recommends doing two lessons a day for a week, but can be done one lesson a day for two weeks for younger students or ones who need a slightly slower pace.  Each lesson takes about 1/2 hour.

There is an appendix at the end of the student workbook with additional resources that can either be used while going through the lessons or afterwards as a review and additional exercises.

The teacher's guide contains all of the fill in the blank answers as well as examples as well as teaching prompts for you, the teacher.  Each chapter covers the purpose, the preparation (discussion points) and procedure (or activity) to be done.

How did we use this?

My son and daughter and I decided to do this study together.  While an older child could probably go through it by themselves, I think there is a lot of value added by the back and forth discussion that comes with "teaching" it to your child.  We did the first two sections in one sitting, the next two together and then finished the rest in one sitting since we were on a roll.  We are saving the review chapter and appendix supplements for this summer, because I want the kids to be able to see if they have retained not only the knowledge they learned but also the habit of the new techniques as well.

One of the few things I think my kids as homeschoolers especially miss out on sometimes is learning how to study.  They do a lot of reading and such, but not nearly as much testing as they would in a public school setting.  How to study is just not something I think about teaching.  That is why I love this concept and this book.  

We really enjoyed working through this book together, had a lot of good conversations and learned some new things.  The kids already knew what their learning styles were as that is something we talk a lot about around here, but they learned some new techniques for those particular styles. They also learned some great techniques for studying  that were new to us as well.  One is particular was the PQRST, in which kids are taught to study by Preview, Question, Read, State and Test.  

One of my favorite parts of the book was an activity that had the kids plan out how they would schedule the steps for completing an assignment on a calendar.  The assignment was explained with the parts that had to be accomplished and a start date and due date were given.  It was a great exercise to let them see how they actually needed to plan out the steps for gathering information, doing a rough draft, meeting with a teacher for approval and then turning in a final paper.  It was an eye opener to them both I think, but especially my 6th grader who has not had to write that in depth of a paper yet. Another fun activity presented is in the note taking section where they listen to a paragraph and take notes.  Then they can be tested to see how well their notes served them.  There is also a 168 hour exercise in the appendix that allows you to see just where you spend your time and how many flexible hours you have in your day.  An eye opener for us all I would say!

What did we think? 

 I would highly recommend the Victus Study Skills System!  For such an easy to use, fairly short program, I think both of my kids walked away with a better understanding of themselves and more tools in their tool belt to help them do well in college and the future.  While the teacher's manual has a great explanation of the Victus purpose and  is well organized,  I do wish it was a little clearer in how to actually teach the system.  For the fill in the blank sections, the answers are just provided with no script for teaching it.  It does however have some good examples to give your student as well as questions to discuss.  I loved using it with my two kids, but it could easily be used for a classroom as well.

You can purchase both the Student Workbook ($20.00) and the Teachers Workbook ($40.00) as well as additional resources from Victus Study Skills System.

You can find Victus Study Skills System-
Twitter: @VictusStudy

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