As I pondered our upcoming homeschool year over the summer, I knew that one of the big things I wanted to focus on was independence. I wanted Josh and Megan to work more independently from me and much more independently from each other.
They have very different learning styles. Josh just wants to know what needs to be done and do it. Megan wants to discuss it all. She also likes lots of breaks, whereas Josh would prefer to just power through. This caused a lot of frustration and bickering last year because we were working together almost exclusively as a family.
I also, knew, however, that I wanted to make sure that the kids were working independently and responsibly. I feel that one of the ways I let Brianna down during her high school years was expecting too much independence too soon and not keeping a good handle on where she was and in which areas she needed help. For that reason, I knew I wanted to have regular meetings with the kids and I wanted them to have planners and learn to use them.
But, what else did they need to be successful in middle and high school and beyond?
This question was answered when I came across review of Victus Study Skills System. As soon as I discovered Victus (V3S), I knew that I wanted to use this with my kids, so I immediately contacted the company to see if they’d be interested in a review.
As a review blogger, one of my biggest fears is always receiving a product for review and discovering that it doesn’t meet my expectations. That was an unfounded worry with V3S. It did just exactly what I expected it to do in a fun, hands-on, easily implemented way.
What is Victus Study Skills?
Victus Study Skills System is a short series of lessons that teach kids how to study effectively – something that most of us either never learned or learned through our own process of trial and error. We often tell kids to “study harder” without providing them with the skills and knowledge to do so.
With Victus Study Skills System, kids will:
- Take a survey to identify their current study habits
- Identify their learning strengths
- Discover how to study based on their learning strengths
- Develop a mission statement
- Learn how to set specific, achievable goals
- Develop time management skills
- Learn effective study habits
- Develop their own shorthand and note-taking skills
- Learn test-taking strategies
Victus Study Skills System is available as a teacher guide/student workbook set or as a DIY workbook. For a single homeschool student, the DIY workbook is probably all that’s needed. Because both my kids were going through the course and I wanted to guide it, I chose to get the teacher guide and two student workbooks. The workbooks are consumable, so each student will need his or her own. You can see the scope of V3S by taking a peek at the student workbook table of contents or by viewing sample pages.
Study skills for middle and high school students
The whole course only takes about 5 hours, though younger students may need to have the lessons broken down into shorter sessions. According to the website, students as young as 4 can use the program with help, while students ages 10 and up should be able to complete the program independently.
We chose to use Victus during our first two weeks of school, while our schedule was still crazy with outside activities that hadn’t wound down yet (since we start school in July). I thought it would be a great way to ease into school and start the kids off with the skills they would need to study effectively for the rest of the school year.
Josh and Megan really enjoyed the lessons. They both enjoyed discovering their learning strengths, which showed some results we expected, along with a couple of surprises. Both are, not surprisingly, kinesthetic learners, so it’s nice to know that hands-on activities are an effective way for both to learn.
After discovering their learning strengths, they went through a list of study suggestions and picked out some ways that they already were studying and some new ways they’d like to try. They’ve put these to use over the last few weeks in studying for biology quizzes. For each of our two quizzes so far, I’ve told the kids to get our their V3S workbooks and choose a study method from the list.
In the time management lesson, they learned how to plan out a project so that it can easily be completed by the due date without cramming at the last minute. It’s been exciting to me to watch them use what they’ve learned in planning out their own projects this year.
The history curriculum we’ve been using has students doing independent projects for two of the four weeks of each unit. On the day that they choose their project, I’ve been having them figure out the steps required and add those to the appropriate days in their planners.
They’ve also been responsible for figuring out how many pages per day they need to read in their assigned reading in order to complete the book by the end of the unit. They are then to add their daily reading assignments to their planners.
We’ve been using the note-taking skills they’ve learned, as well, with science and history. They’re learning some of the signs that indicate important facts that they should highlight or write down.
Finally, they’ve been putting the test-taking strategies to work. I’ll be honest – I’ve put them to work, too! One of my favorites was: if there is a multiple choice answer containing two extremes, you can typically rule out the two extremes. I tested the theory on an online quiz I took a couple of weeks ago and was fascinated to discover that the strategy works!
Victus Study Skills System + student planners = a winning combo for independence!
I have been so pleased with what we’ve learned using Victus. It was wonderful timing for us with Josh entering high school and Megan in middle school and has been the perfect complement to my goals for them this year. I highly recommend Victus Study Skills System to anyone who is working to increase the academic independence and responsibility of teens and tweens.
You can view the entire Victus Study Skills System product line to learn about all they have to offer. There are even videos for most of their products to help you understand how each works.
Were you ever taught effective study skills, did you learn by trial and error, or is this something you never mastered?