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Worth studying for A levels at 33?

(11 Posts)
happy2bhomely Tue 30-Aug-16 20:45:54

I left school 17 years ago, a month or so into A levels , because I got pregnant. I got married, had another 4 children and have been a SAHM ever since.

My eldest DC is about to start year 11, and it has got me thinking that I'd like to return to education. Not necessarily training for a job, but something interesting that might help me to get a job one day.

It would have to be self study/distance learning because I home educate our 3 youngest dc.

Would it be worth trying to get A levels? i'm worried that I'm not smart enough. I read a lot and I'm clued up enough to teach my children what they need to know to start secondary (we follow the national curriculum for English, math's and science) and I help my eldest with GCSE revision, but some of the stuff he is covering in Math's (he is the first year group to sit the new style) is way over my head.

I did OK in my exams but I'm sure they must have been easier back then, because I managed to pass with no revision or practice papers or anything like that. I got 6 B's, 2C's and a D. The B's were in English, maths and science.

I had a bit of a dysfunctional family life and it meant it was a challenge to even have the correct equipment, let alone get any support. I borrowed things in every lesson, didn't have paper or anything at home and couldn't go on school trips. My parents encouraged me to do well, but I guess they felt it was the school's place to provide everything I needed. I worked hard in school, and did homework at registration and lunch time. We were poor and I thought you had to be rich to go to university. I was naive. I believe it stopped me from reaching my potential, but has left me doubting my capabilities.

Either way, I ended up pregnant anyway, so never did get to find out.

So, what I'm asking is, is it possible to take A levels as an adult? Do you need to be very smart to be able to do them? How smart? Are some easier than others? I am willing to work hard, but I'm worried that it just won't be enough. Do you have to do coursework or is it all exams? Which subjects would be worth doing? Can I do them one at a time? Will it cost me a fortune? Is it worth it if I'm not likely to go to university?

caroldecker Tue 30-Aug-16 21:16:59

Learning something new, even for its own sake, is always worthwhile. What do you want to do? A BTEC may be more focused on where you would like to work.

happy2bhomely Tue 30-Aug-16 21:33:32

I have no idea what I want to do! I am interested in reading things about social policy, health and education. I wanted to be a midwife once upon a time. I like to help people.

caroldecker Wed 31-Aug-16 01:06:53

Have you looked at volunteering? There are a number of charities which support people with mental health issues, drug addiction etc, or childrens groups?
Maybe some time volunteering with local groups and then understanding any training in those areas?

VioletBam Wed 31-Aug-16 01:11:36

You'd be better off looking at an Access course

www.accesstohe.ac.uk/Pages/Default.aspx

www.accesstohe.ac.uk/Access/About/Pages/Default.aspx

These are recognised by Universities and are a way for mature students to get into courses they want to without A levels.

Lemond1fficult Wed 31-Aug-16 01:16:35

I did my a levels at 22.. Not old, but old enough for it to feel like a big step to go back.

If you can do it without getting into debt, I would absolutely recommend it. I did history, literature, politics and law, and I really feel my brain developed as a result. I learned how to argue properly, understood more about how our country runs, and made some life-long friends.

I would suggest you try and go to classes though - the debating side, and the other students were invaluable in helping me get my teeth into the topics. If you haven't got time for three, maybe just do one and see how you get on?

Good luck, hope you get the confidence to go for it.

nat73 Wed 31-Aug-16 08:14:58

I did AS level french whilst on.maternity leave. Harder than I thought it would be but I got an A so go for it!

happy2bhomely Wed 31-Aug-16 09:40:10

I have volunteered occasionally. I've helped in school and kids clubs. I've helped on a ward helping elderly people with their meals. It's just hard to fit things in with the children.

I have looked at access courses, but they all just seem geared to prepare you for university, rather than learning a subject for the love of it. I don't even know if or when uni would be an option. I guess the Open University would be best for my situation.

I have looked and it seems Open learn do some free short courses to do in your own time. I might just start with that and see how it goes.

Thanks everyone.

Andthereshewas77 Wed 31-Aug-16 09:45:07

I was a late starter too.
I did an OU degree without the need for A levels.
I think you can even get student loans these days.

HSMMaCM Wed 31-Aug-16 10:36:02

I did open university without A levels. You can study a range of subjects and get a student loan. I found it really interesting.

I also took a GCSE science in my 40s, because I needed it for a teaching qualification.

mrsmortis Thu 01-Sep-16 13:37:28

The OU have an access module called 'People, work and society' which you may be able to do for free and looks like it fits your areas of interest. You have a week to register for an October start.

www.open.ac.uk/courses/modules/y032

I'd recommend calling them and asking for advice. If they think you need to do something else to prepare they'll let you know.

I did a postgraduate qualification with the OU years ago. I found their academic advisors brilliant. They were always ready to help.

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