One of my top goals for my children is to teach them HOW to learn, rather than just fill them up with knowledge and facts. For this review I was sent a full set, covering grades K through college age, of the Victus Study Skills System to take for a test run. We were able to use the Elementary and Middle/High School levels. This is the first system of its kind I have ever come across in my fifteen years of homeschooling! I am excited to share with you why I was so impressed with this curriculum, what we loved about it, and what we didn’t like.
What is the Victus Study Skills System?
This program teaches a systematic approach to study, not only introducing concepts, but also a way of thinking to your students. We all encourage our students to work hard and study so they will be successful learners, but what does that actually look like? I personally wasn’t taught HOW to study when I was a student, and I would bet that you weren’t either! This system remedies that problem and does an excellent job of equipping your child to study efficiently and effectively. Some of the topics covered are:
- Learning styles/strengths
- Goal setting
- Time Management
- Study environment
- PQRST method
- Listening skills
- Note taking
- Test prep
The Victus Study Skills System includes a Teacher’s Edition (middle/high school thru college age) and supplemental materials for teaching primary (K-2/3) and elementary (2/3-4/5) levels, individual leveled student workbooks for college, middle/high school, elementary, and primary ages, and a student planner. Each of these books are spiral bound (except the teacher supplemental booklets) and printed in black and white pages with a color cover. Each level approaches the same material in a way that is appropriate to the suggested age range. If you are teaching multiple levels, the student and teacher pages will differ slightly. This is a multi-level curriculum that can be taught together making it a great option for large families. I have included a photo below of the same lesson from the three different levels of the teacher edition.
This study skills curriculum is intended to be taught over five consecutive days, spending about an hour or so covering two lessons daily. The teacher’s edition is very thorough and is full of background material to help you teach.
We used the elementary and middle/high school levels of the study skills curriculum, so that’s where I will focus for the purposes of this review . I did look over the primary and college level materials as well, just to get a feel for the cohesiveness of the materials. If you have a high school student who is about to graduate and plans on enrolling in college courses, the college level of this program is very thorough and would certainly give them a huge advantage in their studies. As for the primary level, I personally wouldn’t include a child of this age in this study, as they are not yet independent learners and most of the concepts are a bit advanced for the beginning reader/writer.
We were not able to finish this program over one week as intended, as we had trouble finding time in our days to do so. Instead, we opted to complete 2-3 of the ten lessons each week as we had time. This worked out fine as long as we went back over the previous material briefly at the beginnning of each session.
The student pages contain a variety of exercises including fill-in-the-blanks, multiple choice, filling in charts and schedules, note-taking practice, goal setting worksheets, word searches, and more. Here are two photos of completed pages from my kiddos workbooks…
One of my struggles with this program was in using the teacher’s edition for my high schooler alongside the elementary supplement for my ten year old. It was tricky going between the two and trying to match up pages. The TE is not the easiest to follow as the background info and the actual material to teach your student is not clearly marked as such. My suggestion here would be to go through each lesson beforehand and highlight anything you want to make sure you discuss with your student. A scripted lesson plan would be super helpful here, but be prepared to go over lessons in advance as this is not an “open and go” curriculum.
Overall, I enjoyed teaching with this curriculum. My kids? Not as much. While I am a type A personality, my kiddos are the complete the opposite of me. My high schooler really fought doing a few of these study skills exercises as he just “didn’t see the point of learning this stuff”. That is a failure on my part, and not due to any fault of the curriculum. It was my hope that this program might encourage him to put a bit more effort into staying organized and working more efficiently in his studies – this remains to be seen. I will be referring back to these materials throughout our school year and encouraging them to use the various study skills methods as they are applicable. Hopefully, this will result in more ingrained habits of effective study and they will adopt these methods as their own. I do think my ten year old enjoyed the lessons a bit more. He told me he thought it was “cool to see what my learning style was” and that he didn’t know there was a right way to read and study for school.
Sometimes we as parents are bigger fans of a program or curriculum than our kiddos are, and that’s ok! They don’t always understand the “why” behind what we are trying to teach them, but these materials did a great job of explaining WHAT, WHY and HOW. The only reasons I am giving this program a 3.5 stars instead of 4.5 is due to the fact that my kids really didn’t enjoy it and the teacher edition could be more user friendly.
Make sure to visit the Crew Review blog to see what other families had to say about the Victus Study Skills System!