My name is Asim.
I am a former physicist, I was an investment banker in London for several years, and moved to Malaysia a decade ago to become an entrepreneur.
At university I met my wife, Isabelle. She graduated in classics, trained to become a lawyer, became a Chartered Accountant instead, then tax consultant, then a designer of some incredible villas, now she’s my CFO. Oh, she also looks after our kids!
We have 3 kids, Maryam (born 2004), Danyal (2006) and Sabeen (2008).
Until late 2013 our kids had a normal school education. In fact, if you told me up until mid-2013 that you homeschooled your kids I would have thought you were nuts.
In late 2013, I convinced Isabelle and the kids that we should give homeschooling a try.
When we started out we really didn’t have any big ambitions…
So, fast forward to today, and Maryam has attained 5 A*s in her IGCSEs (UK 16+ exams) aged 12. She’s probably the youngest kid in the world to have ever done this (from digging around the web). She also got As in her Biology and Physics A-levels (UK 18+ exams), also aged 12 – she’s probably the youngest ever to have got an A in A-level Biology, and possibly Physics too except her brother did it younger. A year later, she got a B in Mathematics – that was a little disappointing!
Danyal managed 3 A*s in his IGCSEs by the time he was 10 – again, probably the youngest ever to have done this. His mark in his Accounting IGCSE was the highest in Malaysia. And he got an A in A-level Physics aged 10 – very likely a youngest-ever. And, more recently, an A in A-level Mathematics aged 11.
Last but not least, Sabeen got an A* in her IGCSE Maths aged 8, making her likely the youngest girl to have ever done so, and an A* in her IGCSE Physics aged 10, again the youngest girl to have ever achieved this.
Danyal captained his soccer team that took part in the Gothia Cup in China, plays squash at a pretty high level for his age, and is one of the fastest runners in Malaysia for his age over 5km. Sabeen also plays squash regularly and she also does some self-defence, as does Maryam who can kick as high as my head – and I’m almost 6’2″!
Maryam and Danyal are kind of done with the academic education – they’re learning to code (Python) – that’s their new focus. Maryam loves public speaking – so she goes to a couple of classes every week.
And all 3 kids have become fluent-to-conversant in 5 languages, including Chinese, and they are getting there in a 6th.
And before you start getting worried, the kids are happy, have many friends, are confident and sociable. And they don’t even work particularly hard so have tons of spare time – in fact too much spare time.
While I think the kids are bright, none were singled out by their teachers at their previous school for having any genius-like abilities. This is not mostly genes at play, it’s definitely mostly the power of school done right, so even if your kids are not able to do their exams as early as ours because they’re not that bright, they shouldn’t take much longer.
Initially, I taught the kids maths and physics, Isabelle taught French and English, and tutors taught the rest over Skype or by coming in. Today the kids are mainly teaching themselves and each other, with the help of tutors over Skype. And thus our time and the costs of all of this are minimal.
My journey has led me to believe that the modern education system, that I experienced the very best of, is completely messed up.
In this blog I explain why I’ve come to that conclusion, and I also explain why my kids will probably end up not going to university. I know it sounds crazy…