The program can be used with all ages, but it is geared more towards 5th – 12th grade. After my experience with Jordan, I highly recommend you consider it much earlier than 12th grade.
- Teacher Edition: $40
- Student Workbook: $20
The Victus Study Skills Concepts include:
- Zeal without knowledge is not good, but zeal with knowledge bears fruit.
- Results come from the process.
- Any system with all of its components must have an aim, or purpose.
- A unique and effective system of study has the greatest likelihood of aiding in success.
“For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.” ~ Dorothy Sayers
I chose to highlight this quote from both the Teacher Edition and Student Workbook, because I feel it is the heart of the program – to teach children how to learn effectively.
The lessons are divided into three main sections, that the program calls Foundational Cornerstones:
- Where am I now? This section focuses on study habits and learning strengths.
- Where do I want to be? is all about Mission and Goal Setting.
- How do I get there? includes lessons on time management, organization and study environment, a method called PQRST, how to listen, note taking and test taking.
The Teacher’s Edition is essential to the program and contains the philosophy of the program, objective, techniques for teaching, a sample course plan, teacher instructions, as well as a view of the student book.
The program consists of a total of ten lessons that can be completed in 30 minutes each or less. It is suggested that the program be completed in five, one-hour sessions.
We did the program in five, one hour sessions, but over several weeks because I had a hard time getting Jordan to want to do this.
Where am I now?
I learned that Jordan is a visual learner first, and then a kinesthetic learner. I thought it was the other way around! The program had him commit to start doing three things to take advantage of his learning strength when he studies. The three he chose were 1) color coding to organize, 2) use sticky notes as reminders, and 3) limit info on note cards. As you can see, the program is very practical, giving students tips and challenging them.
Where do I want to be?
I like that the program had him thinking about where he has been, where he is now, and where he sees himself five and 10 years from now. In fact, he had to draw a picture of each in his Student Workbook, and create a mission statement.
Then he learned skills to help him get to where he wants to go – skills like goal setting and determining priorities. The Student Workbook includes seasonal goal charts to help him set goals. The charts include defining the goal, writing an objective, and writing an action plan.
How do I get there?
This section teaches about time management, scheduling, organization, study environment, the PQRST method, how to be an active listener, note taking hints, including shorthand style, strategies for test taking and more.
He started a schedule of his week, so he can learn how to manage his time better.
Victus Study Skills is a wonderful concept that teaches valuable life skills. And while I really liked the philosophy of the program, and the skills it teaches, I did not really enjoy the implementation of the program – not just because of lack of student interest, but because the teacher instructions are confusing. I really didn’t know what I was doing.
Each lesson contains: the purpose, preparation for the lesson, and the procedure.
The purpose was straightforward.
The preparation involved discussion about the topic or an activity to go along.
The procedure part often involved further discussion and instructions to complete a page in the Student Workbook. The later was the most confusing part. For example, in Lesson 2, it says, “Have students turn to page 9 to the “Learning Strengths” exercise and complete it with them.” I understood the concept, but I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to give my son the answers, have him guess, or what. So, I just read the answers and had him fill them in. This felt like a waste of time and towards the end, I handed him the Teacher’s Edition and had him copy the answers into his Student Workbook. Then, I had him come tell me what he learned and then we discussed it. For this reason, I think I would have preferred the DIY Student Workbook ($25) for self-directed study more.
I also think the suggested plan felt rushed. If I were to do this program again, with my younger students, I would do one lesson a week, and challenge them to find ways to use the skill they learned throughout the week.
At the end of the Student Workbook is an appendix with additional materials for further application of the lessons. They are practical helps that include charts, logs, organization tips, assessments, exercises, flashcards, and more. These would be ideal to use with a lesson for further reinforcement.
I targeted Jordan for my review because he is a high school student taking two college courses this semester, and I wanted to give him the tools to help him succeed. Unfortunately, at his age, he thinks he knows everything he needs to know, and he wasn’t as open to the program as I had hoped, so he didn’t get much out of it. He was busy and had better things to do, and didn’t think he needed the information in the program. At the end, he told me that the program really needs to be targeted to students in middle school or early high school. Jordan is doing well in his college courses, knows how to take notes, and thinks he manages his time well. For the most part he does, but I still feel he would have benefited from the program more if his heart had been into it.
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