This post was originally published on September 5th 2018 and updated on March 23rd 2020.

Today’s post is the second in the series of our home educators journey, following the lives of Anna and Lucy on their NEC learner story. Anna and Lucy are a mother and daughter who are sharing their experiences of online distance learning and home education. This post is written by Lucy, highlighting her experiences, so far, learning at home with NEC. To read the first blog of the series “A home educator’s journey part 1:selecting our course provider” click here.

Further information about home education can be found here.

Navigating NECs online learning platform 

This year I enrolled on NEC’s GCSE Maths and GCSE Sociology and will be taking the exams in Summer 2019. The first thing I had to do was navigate around the NEC website and get to know how the website works. This was simple to do and information was well set out. The tutors recommend that you make a timetable for the year, so if you are going to take your exam you know you will get through all the course materials with time to spare for revision. It is quite hard to do this because you have to plan for next year and it can be hard to think that far ahead.  However, now I have my plan I find it really useful because I know what I’m going to be doing on what day and I know for sure that I will get through the course and have plenty of time for revision. It is also helpful for the tutors because they will know if you’re staying on the right track and they know when to expect assignments. After you send your timetable to your tutors they will check it and if they think that it needs to be tweaked they will send you feedback.

Meeting the tutors

Shortly after starting the course, my tutors sent me a message introducing themselves and sharing tips they have to make sure I get the most out of the courses. I also had an introductory call with my maths tutor.  She explained the course in more depth and answered any questions I had. My initial thoughts on the tutors were that they are very kind and helpful. They also reply quite quickly to any messages I send them. When I was confused on how to do one of the maths problem I messaged my tutor and within an hour she replied and she said if it still didn’t make sense she would call me and explain it further. They also message you every now and then to make sure you’re enjoying the course and to see if you have any questions.

NEC course material

I have the online materials for both subjects. For the maths course I use the online book for information and then watch the videos and complete the quizzes. There is a PDF file of the online book but I also write down anything that I need to remember and keep them all in a folder so when it comes to revision I will know where everything is and have a set of handwritten notes. If I don’t understand I find watching the videos very helpful because they are short but explain things very well. Doing the quiz helps to apply the information you learnt in the book and video to proper maths problems.

For the sociology course I print the PDF of the lesson and complete the activities on a seperate piece of paper. There are also answers to the activities at the end of the lesson so you can check your answers. Important sociologists and their research, which you have to know for the exam, are highlighted in a blue box. Important words are written in bold and their meanings can be found in the glossary at the end of the lesson. I have found this very helpful for remembering key information and learning vocabulary.

And the learning begins…

I started the courses at the beginning of June and have recently finished my first assignment in both subjects. I think the lessons I completed before the assignment prepared me well for the questions, I also found the feedback from the tutors helpful and they gave me ideas of how to improve my work. In my sociology tutor’s feedback she sent links to useful websites which explain things in more depth to add to my overall knowledge of the material. She also adds an example of a perfect answer and tells me what I could improve on to make sure I get the most marks I can.
I feel like I have made a good start to both courses and feel confident as I move forward with them.

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