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Anyone else done A levels at home?

(8 Posts)
musicposy Wed 15-Jun-11 22:51:34

DD1 is 15 and has just taken some GCSEs, including maths. She really enjoyed the maths and wants to go on to A level next year rather than just dropping maths altogether or having a year's break and forgetting it all.

We've been in contact with a couple of colleges but funding seems to be an issue unless she goes onto a full time A level course (i.e. not just the one subject). There's a couple of colleges that I think would take her into their 6th form a year early (she'll have 6 GCSEs already once the results come out) - but she's not sure she wants to do this. I think that she'd be better to wait a year, especially from a social point of view.

We've bought an AS Maths book and I reckon that between the two of us we could give it a go. Is this an utterly crazy idea? Are we doomed to low marks and certain failure? We can't afford tutors and it seems a very high level to be tackling all by ourselves. Has anyone else done this?

mummytime Wed 15-Jun-11 23:02:25

I know some people have done some OU maths courses. They will probably pop up soon. Its certainly what I would do if I was home edding (the temptation is very strong sometimes).

FionaJNicholson Thu 16-Jun-11 05:31:13

Hi, this is a slightly sideways answer to your question because I have no experience of taking A Levels at home (my 18 year old isn't doing any) but I just wanted to clarify something about full time and part time college. Has your local authority agreed to fund the college place for a pre-16? I ask because this is quite rare. I've just surveyed all the local authorities in England and written about it here edyourself.org/articles/FundingReport.php#2011survey

I'm not clear whether it's the council or the college which is saying the course has to be full-time. You don't have to attend college full time either pre or post 16 but it's difficult though not impossible to persuade the local authority to pay for any type of pre 16 provision. The college would prefer if you did attend full time because of economies of scale, but if you are adamant that you only want to attend part-time you can take it higher to complain, perhaps even to your MP.

mnistooaddictive Thu 16-Jun-11 06:03:32

Maths tutor/ teacher here. Before I can really answer your question I havexa few of my own! Alevel is very algebraic - what us her algebra like? Did you do maths alevel yourself? If you did some of it will come back and it will help you. There a lot of new skills at Alevel and it is really hard to figure it out from the book? Are you going to do the whole alevel or just the first module? At a push, you could probably do c1 and c2 and d1/s1 to get an as level if you are both fairly mathematical. Doing c3 and c4would be more difficult.
I would recommend you start with "foundations of advanced mathematics" which is a half way step and can be taken as a free standing qualification.
Are there any schools with sixth forms near you? Could you spriach them about her joining in lessons, they may be more flexible.

musicposy Thu 16-Jun-11 11:42:32

mnistooaddictive yes, I did maths a level myself, but it was a long time ago (old person) and decision maths, which seems to be the module lots of schools take, is completely new from when I did it. I remember some parts - differentiation sticks in my head way too much(!) - but some will be new.

She was very strong on her GCSE - we're expecting at least an A grade - and when I looked at a book designed to bridge the gap between GCSE and A level it was all stuff she has done and is confident on (vectors, quadratic and simultaneous equations, cumulative frequency graphs etc). We were thinking of taking AS level next year.

Funding-wise, Fiona, the college were talking about taking her on their proper A level courses a year early as they apparently can sometimes do that if they consider a child exceptionally gifted. That's what banner we would get the funding under. I think occasionally secondary schools accept children a year early (ie put them up a year group) and so this is what they were discussing with us. She would count as part of the year group above.

But we don't really want this as she wants to be home ed for at least Year 11.

She did Biology IGCSE last year and neither of us had the slightest knowledge of Biology at all at the start (I dropped it at 14) but she achieved an A - so I have high hopes we could at least attempt the maths!

musicposy Thu 16-Jun-11 11:46:21

Fiona, as an aside, she went to college this year on a 14-16 year old accelerated learning course, and it cost us just £50 for the year. It was heavily subsidised, I assume, so I don't know where the funding for that came from. We didn't question, we just did it! This year just gone they did offer AS maths for Year 11s who had taken GCSE early under the same scheme, but it doesn't look like it is running next year and that's why we've hit more difficulty.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 16-Jun-11 15:53:41

Hi, not sure how much help I'm going to be because I'm just sticking my fingers in my ears and singing La la la la everytime someone says what a bad idea it is because our options are limited and tbh everything we've done so far everyone said we'd be unlikely to manage, but here we are waiting to see what it is that will finally trip us, and proves everyone right.

We've just done History, English, and Business studies at A/S, and are about to start those at A2, and start maths, further maths, physics and chemistry at A/S.
I've little education and learn alongside him forgetting as we go but it seems to be working so far.
£60 buys you online support for A/S or further maths alongside whichever exam boards book you choose, and it's £100 for the two from http://www.mei.org.uk/ which is the maths charity and government funded so I hope it's ok to put up here along with FMSP which is the same, and where you can get free revision stuff and past papers: http://www.fmnetwork.org.uk/index.php Neither has any problem with home edders.

HTH

FionaJNicholson Thu 16-Jun-11 20:54:43

The accelerated learning option sounds interesting. I'm not aware they do it round here. Re getting funding pre-16 for A Levels where the young person has done GCSEs already, I only know of one council where they said it was possible to get funding for this but the person who knew about it is on leave at the moment!

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