TOS Crew Review: Victus Study Skills System

Do your children understand how to work towards a goal; to use their natural learning styles to enhance their study time, and how to create a mission statement?  If not, or even if they can but you’d like to strengthen these and other skills, your family might love the Victus Study Skills System!  Jackson and I were able to use and review this incredible learning tool for the Schoolhouse Review Crew, and we have enjoyed using it and seeing him grow.

The word “victus” is a Latin term meaning “a way of life.”  So, the Victus Study Skills System is designed to assist students in grades 5-12 to develop a skills set for and way of thinking about studying, planning and goal-setting.  It builds skills, habits and mind-sets one upon the other, until at the end of the course the student has a system of study and thought that he can truly use his entire life!

I never learned a formal system of study habits myself.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), I was able put off studying and reviewing until the night before the test, but I could cram for 3-5 hours then and make excellent grades when I took the test the next day.  Now, of course as an adult and a homeschooling mom, I realize that isn’t true learning.  Jackson has some of those same abilities, but since I’d prefer to encourage him to be a lifelong learner, I have loved working through the Victus Study Skills System with him.

This has also come at a perfect time for him.  This year, he is a sixth-grader, and there are goals he would like to meet over the next year that will open doors for a number of different activities and accomplishments he’d like to engage with.  So he had a high level of interest in using and learning this system.

Here are the four goals which comprise the philosophy of the Victus Study Skills System:

  1. First, zeal without knowledge is not good, but zeal with knowledge bears fruit.  Or, if you don’t understand how to do something, it doesn’t matter how hard you work to accomplish it.  You must understand how to properly perform each task in order to successfully complete it.
  2. Second, results come from the process.  We have processes, or habits, that we use for each task we do in life.  The same is true for study skills.
  3. Third, any system with all of its components must have an aim, or purpose.  If the aim of the student is to succeed in life, then the Victus Study Skills System can help him to do so.
  4. Fourth, an effective system of study has the greatest likelihood of aiding in success. 

We received two books to use with Victus Study Skills System; the Teacher Edition and the Student Workbook.  On the cover of each is a quote by Oxford scholar (and associate of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis) 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.”

The Teacher Edition of the Victus Study Skills System has an overview of the course philosophy, a section that outlines teacher instructions for using the books and the course, all the lessons included in the Student Workbook plus a lesson plan for each one, and an Appendix containing additional tools and helps for both the teacher and student.  The
Student Workbook has a section for each lesson and spaces for the student to jot down notes.

So what will the student (and, to be honest, the teacher as well) learn using the Victus Study Skills System?  The system itself is broken up into three Foundational Cornerstones containing ten lessons total, which can be taught to high school students in 30-minute allotments; high schoolers do well with two of these lessons per day, finishing the course in one week.  They can be also taught twice a week for 5 weeks for younger students, or more frequently.  I noticed that (perhaps because Jackson is a 6th-grader, not a high-schooler) it took us about 30-45 minutes per lesson.  The information is presented in a very understandable way, but since it was new to him and we were building some new foundations and skills, we took our time.

The three Foundational Cornerstones are:

  • Foundational Cornerstone One:  Where Am I Now?  In this Cornerstone, the  student is introduced to the course and assesses his study habits.  What strengths and liabilities does he have in his study skills?  It also introduces the student to the concept of learning strengths.  Is the student a visual, an auditory, or a kinesthetic learner?  When he understands which of these he is, he can use tips from the course to maximize his study times and to build new and effective habits.
  • Foundational Cornerstone Two:  Where Do I Want to Be?  This cornerstone covers the future.  Where does the student hope to be in five years, or in ten years?  Here, he’ll identify some goals and priorities for the next year,  as well as an overall strategic mission statement for his life.
  • Foundational Cornerstone Three:  How Do I Get There?  This cornerstone teaches specific study skills and life habits that will prepare the student for successful academics and life.  Here, he’ll learn about: managing his time; organization and study environment; a study/lecture guide (PQRST); listening and note taking; test taking; and review, where the student assesses and evaluates what he’s learned through the course.

As I mentioned earlier, Victus Study Skills System came at a perfect time for us.  Jackson is at a place in his life where it was a very natural segue into thinking of a mission statement, goals and changing the way he studies and prepares for tests.  The Teacher Edition is extremely simple to use for lesson preparation.  The Student Workbook is clearly laid out and students fill in blanks or write their personal visions or plans in each lesson.  Also, he is a boy who thrives on schedules, so this was a very instinctive process for him to move through.  Suddenly, we’re at a place where we are looking more to the future and what skills he’ll need, and which abilities he’ll require for success in life.  This has been the perfect tool for me as the teacher, to understand:

  • how to set up our homeschool “classroom” for maximum learning potential for Jackson
  • how to teach, in the manner he’ll best be able to receive and learn
  • how to help him in scheduling his goals
  • how to best schedule his school days

March 2012 048For him, he’s learning how:

  • he learns most efficiently
  • to set and achieve goals
  • to use mnemonic devices and tools for learning
  • how to prepare for tests, and how to manage test anxiety

There are so many great skills and tips in this course.  Jackson and I have really enjoyed using the Victus Study Skills System, and we recommend it for any middle-schooler or high-schooler!

You may purchase this excellent program directly from Victus Study Skills System.  To teach this most effectively, you’ll need the Teacher Edition ($40) and the Student Workbook ($20).  For these prices, you’ll be purchasing a system that will effectively prepare your student for lifelong success and learning!

Other members of the TOS Crew used and reviewed this product, and you may read about their experiences at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

Enjoy!  –Wren





4 thoughts on “TOS Crew Review: Victus Study Skills System

  1. I’m still struggling to help my son wrap his mind around these concepts. I wish I could infuse him with a desire to learn a broader base of topics. But at least I have tools like these availble to me. When his sisters were students there were so few materials available.

    • I think for kids on the younger side of the age spectrum it truly CAN be a brand-new topic, can’t it? I’m thankful as well for the availability of these great tools. I was seriously in college before I did any goal-setting!

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