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OU full-time + work full-time + single parent = doable?

(16 Posts)
ThomasRichard Mon 27-Jul-15 20:44:05

I'm a newly single parent to two small children (5 and 2), I work full time but not in a standard pattern (4 days in the office, plus 5 hours that I need to fit in at home in the evenings or at weekends) and I've signed up to do a Level 1 and a Level 2 OU module starting in October this year.

I completed my first Level 1 module in May and did very well. I started to lose interest towards the end so I'm slightly worried about motivation with the next Level 1 module but the Level 2 module really interests me and I'm looking forward to it. I can't do the Level 2 module before taking the remaining Level 1 module; I've already asked and been told no in no uncertain terms.

I'm wobbling between wanting to be sensible and putting the Level 2 module off until next year and thinking I can manage some hard graft for 8 months. Am I being unrealistic or is this doable?

ImperialBlether Mon 27-Jul-15 20:46:37

What time do the children go to bed? If they are going at 7 or thereabouts and are good sleepers and if you don't normally go to bed until 11 or so, then it's doable.

ThomasRichard Mon 27-Jul-15 21:33:09

They're usually in bed by 7, asleep by 7.30-8. I need to be up at 6.30am to get myself and them ready and to childcare before I go to work. I need two evenings a week for my flexible work hours and my day off work is spent looking after 2yo DD.

I think it's doable, I'm just worried about losing my motivation, letting it slip and not having time to catch up. I'd need iron self-discipline to make this work.

ImperialBlether Tue 28-Jul-15 09:57:23

You would need iron self discipline and you wouldn't have time to do anything else, either.

Will their father be seeing them at weekends?

SurlyCue Tue 28-Jul-15 10:02:28

What is your intention after the level 2 module? Do you intend further study for career progression or is it just for an interest/hobby? The reason I'm asking is it will be very hard work doing what you intend, if it were just for interest, i would consider taking the course on a part-time basis. Working so many hours will take its toll and be stressful and i would only accept that if it were for career progression that had no good reason to be delayed.

butterflygirl15 Tue 28-Jul-15 10:05:49

If you are doing OU full time make sure you claim your council tax discount. But I would say 120 credits on top of a full time job is too much. You said that they won't let you start a level 2 until both level 1 are completed and then state that you want to do them both together though?

Husbanddoestheironing Tue 28-Jul-15 10:07:47

Might be worth checking out now what your 'fall back' position would be if you find it too hard after the first couple of months-eg could you carry on with the level 1 module and defer the rest of the level 2 module without penalty until the following year. And then go for it if you think you can. Very hard but only for 8 months.

SurlyCue Tue 28-Jul-15 10:08:46

Oh and what is the course? It might make a difference as to whether you can manage it or not.

Asuperwittyquip Tue 28-Jul-15 10:13:54

I am just going into my final OU year, doing part-time 60credits a year. I am married, have 2 children and work 25hrs a week. I am studying history so a lot of reading. I found level 1 and 2 study very doable and could probably have done 120 credits in a year, level 3 absolutely no way could I have done all the reading for 2 level 3 courses as well as working and my other responsibilities.

ThomasRichard Tue 28-Jul-15 11:18:26

I have two fall-back plans:

1) Do the bare minimum on the Level 1 module as that only requires a pass and doesn't affect my degree classification. The bare minimum in that case would be skim-reading the course books, attending the tutorials and going into depth only on the parts that are strictly required for the TMA's and EMA.

2) Use assessment banking to bank my TMA scores for the Level 2 module and defer it until the next start date (October next year).

The modules are DD103 Investigating the Social World and TD223 International Development. I bought copies of the TD223 textbooks and DVD to get a head-start on familiarising myself with the course content over the summer break.

I had conversations with a couple of OU advisors about the possibility of starting the L2 module in October and the L1 module in February but they were adamant that it wasn't permitted. I can start them both together or I can do L1 this year and L2 next year but I can't start L2 without having completed or started L1.

I'm working towards a degree, mainly to enable me to change career direction but also for interest. I want to complete it sooner rather than later because I'm impatient to get going rather than because of any external time-constraint, so I can afford to go to fall back plan 2 if needed. I see this year as my last chance to take two modules together as I wouldn't want to take two L2/L3 modules together or combine an L2 with an L3.

The DC's father has them EOW and for two weekday nights every other week.

SwedishEdith Tue 28-Jul-15 11:24:25

The bare minimum in that case would be skim-reading the course books, attending the tutorials and going into depth only on the parts that are strictly required for the TMA's and EMA.

You can use that strategy pretty much for your whole degree. I completed mine working, more or less full-time, 2 kids and during a big extension on the house so often no table to work on. Got a good degree. Oh, and I was a single parent when I started. I would not, however, have managed 2 x level 3 courses at the same time. I loved it though - it was my hobby, really.

ThomasRichard Tue 28-Jul-15 11:40:48

That's what I did whenI started losing interest in the last module. It worked but I didn't feel great about it.

SwedishEdith Tue 28-Jul-15 11:54:25

I found the higher the module, the more interesting they became, tbh. But, there's so much material, you just have to be "smart" about your studying if you're working as well.

Sigma33 Tue 28-Jul-15 12:02:50

Well, it seems as if you have a couple of fall back options - and you're less likely to be able to do 2 at a time of the higher level modules. So I'd say give it a go!

butterflygirl15 Tue 28-Jul-15 12:06:26

I was told I could start a L2 module after not yet finishing a L1 module, so I wonder if you have been given the wrong info.

Again - don't forget your council tax discount.

ThomasRichard Tue 28-Jul-15 12:41:08

That's really useful info butterfly, thankyou.

I did challenge the start date rule but I spoke to two different people and it was a definite no.

I'll start and give it a go. If it's horrendous I'll go to my fall back plans. I'm planning on being slightly lighter on the L1 study anyway.

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