This was another review product that came as an exact answer to a prayer to fill a need in our homeschooling. My oldest son is now working independently most of the time. This has been a normal occurrence the last few years in the Spring and Summer as he gets into his work and understands the next tasks.
I spend time getting his work ready, printing out his schedule, working around his work schedule, posting our goals, and letting him know when I’ll spend time to review the work with him at the end of the week. We usually have the list printed and resources ready Sunday night. He has until Friday or Saturday to go through the tasks.
This has always worked, as long as we were home all day long. This year he has a work schedule and two sport teams to plan around. He is doing most of the work completely without me present, so the only way I have to know if he is understanding the work is through oral/written narrations and reviews using the weekly tests. I’m feeling that he needs to get a bit more aggressive in setting up the next week’s work on his own, and being ready for review at the end of the week.
So – my goals for this program were to have my oldest son take a bit more charge of his own schedule, learn how to study without mom in the room, and be prepared for the tests at the end of the week.
The program says that it is a 10 lesson program that can easily be done in 5 days. Score – Let’s go!
When I got the Teacher Edition – I realized my expectations were much too narrow.
Victus in the Latin means a way of life. This program aims to give the boys skills not only for academics, but for life. The Course Aim wants to help the kids combine their zeal with knowledge using a process to find an aim or purpose and set up an effective study system to aid their success. It gets there using 3 cornerstones, Where am I now, Where do I want to be, and How do I get there?
The Teacher’s Edition guided me through an introduction to their philosophy, teacher’s instructions, guided lessons and extra exercises. I felt like after I read through the Teacher’s Edition, I could easily guide the boys through the Student Workbook.
I agreed with the quote found in the book from Dorothy Sayers,
“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.”
It was fun to go through the Where am I now? section. We quickly saw that the boys were Kinesthetic learners by answering a 8 simple questions. The next page gives Suggested Aids for Learning Strengths for Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic learners. I think their list was spot on. All of the understanding and knowledge that has ever ‘stuck’ has happened in the kinesthetic category.
As for the life lessons, I felt glad for my oldest reading through the Where am I now? and Where do I want to be? sections. I think since we have approached learning through a goals/objectives process that both of my boys think this way naturally. We often sit down and ask, where are we now, what are our goals today, this week, this season, this year. Then we set up resources and activities to reach those points. If our goals or objectives change, we quickly switch resources and paths.
I think this is the key freedom of homeschool education, the ability to flow freely with the use of a mission statement, setting priorities for goals and objectives. If you have not been using this system for your days, for this section alone – I highly recommend this product to learn how to walk though this simple and necessary process.
We went though these sections fresh with Nate. He sort of had a ‘duh, this is what I’m doing’ attitude, but I had a more triumphant – we are on the right path reassurance. He got to see from another source that planning out the month, activities, work schedule, and academics are vital to making our time productive. It also reduces stress in the long run, as you’ll know what your objectives for the day are, and when real ‘free time’ can be used.
On the How do I get there? section – It was my favorite for my youngest son. I had been reading through the Teacher’s Edition the morning that we were to read a section of my son’s Chemistry and Physics book. After each chapter there is a list of questions to help see if we saw the main focus of the the text. My 7th grader looses retention as his mind drifts to the next surf call and visiting surfers in town.
So I put what I read into practice. We went through the Student Workbook section together. It is called PQRST. Preview, Question, Read, State, Test. We started with the back of the chapter to preview what their questions would be. We wrote them on an index card that we used for our bookmark. Then, as we turned each page, we’d first glance at the Titles, Pictures, Captions, Bold Face Words, Charts, and highlighted key sentences. I’d ask Jon how he though this section would help with the chapter objectives. Then, we’d read the pages together. Each time we came to the answer of one of the questions, we’d add it to the bookmark.
It became more like a game of finding treasured answers, than a task of reading more content. He needed to see the ‘why’ of the chapter, before he could engage in the content. The section and tools for the PQRST is extensive, but easy to follow, I’d hate to give it all to you – you’ll have to discover it yourself in the workbooks.
The section goes on to cover Listening and Note Taking and Test Taking with a review in Lesson 10.
This product could be used for any age range of students, however I’d think for the lower ages, it would be more of a help for the teacher. It would be great to incorporate for 5th grade and above. I think since there is so much emphasis with what you want to do in your life, this is is more appropriate for high school. However, as I stated above, at any age, you need a mission, goals and objectives and then a path with resources to get there. We wrote our first mission statement as a family when the boys were 3 and 5 years old.
So at the end of the week of using the product, and now at the end of a month of having it on my side table by my chair – I’d say it met and exceeded my expectations.
Nathan, 10th grade, has taken the lead role in setting his objectives for the week. He has a clear goal of being done with his lessons by the first week of June and is charging forward with that on his own. He’s changed the way he’s studied for his Chemistry Tests and Geometry tests and has done better with more confidence. He’s seen a fresh look, on paper, of what his goals are for the next 5 years. It helps, now, to just walk down that path, adjusting when necessary.
Jon, the 7th grader, has written down goals for this summer. He’s written down the objectives he needs to take to get to a summer camp and visiting friends. He started a lawn care business and set up customers to get him to his goal. He’s working on Track to get him into shape for surfing, and trying to get his core curriculum done by June as well.
I am thankful to Victus Study Skills System for helping me implement a study system in our homeschool to help fine tune their homeschool study habits.
My only con of the program, is that the program is written to the Teacher and to the Student. In actuality it was Mom and Son sitting on the couch or at the kitchen table, talking through these very real and personal lists. However, that is a plus too – this IS written as a in Teacher/Student vocabulary and would be suited for a small classroom or co-op easily and could be used for any student, in your family or not.
Victus Study Skills System Student Workbook $20.00
Victus Study Skills System Teacher Edition $40.00