Home school 2.0

Since starting home school our original plans for our kids have been tweaked.

We’ve decided to get their GCSE’s and A-levels out of the way as soon as possible, so the kids can focus on their passions. Exams are a stressful part of childhood, for many the worst part of childhood. The hard laborious work, constant pressure, expectations, competition, and public shaming and condescending advice if you get bad grades isn’t exactly pleasant, and nearly all the stuff learned is useless. To this day I occasionally wake up, in a cold sweat, worried that my university finals are around the corner and I’ve forgotten to prepare for them – that’s how stressful they were.

Hopefully Maryam, 11, will have finished her A-levels when she’s 13, Danyal, 9, will be done by the time he’s 12, and Sabeen, 7, should finish when she’s 12, possibly 11. The reason Maryam finishes later is because she started home school the oldest. They’ll only take exams if we feel they’ll get A*s, so if they don’t look like they’ll get the A* they’ll wait until the next exam date.

A significant benefit of doing the exams early is it sounds way more impressive on a CV, so everyone will assume they’re hyper-intelligent, when they’re not.

For those that haven’t read my earlier blogs the odd thing about this all is that my kids aren’t working hard, unless it’s the period leading to public exams. They do work intensively 7am until noon, five days a week, but that is pretty much it – they have very little homework – and so the weekends completely off. The effectiveness of 1-to-1 teaching is what is driving things. Isabelle and myself, for that matter, aren’t working hard either.

Most good schools make 9 or 10 GCSE’s and 3 A-levels standard. We’ve decided on 5 GCSE’s, and 4 A-levels.

We’ve reduced the GCSE’s because when one has A-levels, the GCSE’s become fairly irrelevant. Students do an impressive number of GCSE’s because when they are applying to universities they do not yet have their A-level grades, so universities base their offers on the GCSE grades, but if our kids apply to university, they will have already finished some A-levels.

Another thing that we’re doing different is staggering the exams. Schools make their students do all their GCSE’s at one time, like over a summer. This is just plain stupid. That’s the best way of making students do as badly as possible.

So Maryam recently completed 3 iGCSE’s – Maths, Biology, French. She’ll do Physics in 3 months time, in November 2016, and two months later she’ll do an iGCSE in Accounting (taught by Isabelle, a Chartered Accountant). Getting an A* when she’s going to be spending the prior few weeks focusing on that subject suddenly doesn’t sound so stellar. So after her Accounting iGCSE, she’ll do 2 A-levels in the middle of next year, and a final 2 the following year.

Note Maryam is not doing an English GCSE – compulsory in schools in the UK. I checked up with the top universities and none have it as a requirement.

For Danyal the plan is for him to start his maths A-level after he’s done his Physics iGCSE which he’s hoping to do in November 2016. So he might have finished an A-level or two before he’s done with all his GCSE’s. He’s good at maths (like his father before him!).

We don’t yet have much of a plan for Sabeen but I’m hoping she might be ready for her iGCSE maths next year, in June 2017. We’re kind of assessing her aptitude and interests.

Finally, the kids are continuing to learn their languages and play their sports, as per Home School 1.0, but once they start going for the GCSE’s and A-levels the hours are somewhat reduced, with exams the clear focus. We just want to get the exams out of the way…

Author: Asim Qureshi

Passionate about tech startups, home schooling, barefoot running and squash.

8 thoughts on “Home school 2.0”

  1. Hi Mr and Mrs Qureshi,

    May I ask for your personal advise in matters related to homeschooling more than one child?

    I have two kids, boy aged 10 and girl aged 7. I am a Malaysian and am currently residing in England. My kids still attend loc school but I do supplement their academic studies during term break. Full time homeschooling is in the plan. I find getting both kids to study together is painfully difficult, they may either argue with each other or having fun non-stop. My daughter is defiant and very moody, getting her to do work is always a great challenge. How do you manage so many kids and still able to keep them focus for so long ? Do you have some kind of punishment for bad behaviour?

    FYI, we only allow 30mins gaming time everyday and no TV at home.


    Kind regards,


    1. Sam, funny enough we’re in the same boat! We have no TV, give about 30 mins game time a day, our 7 year old is moody, defiant, and difficult to get to do her work, and our kids try to either fight our play non-stop with each other!

      What Isabelle does is give a warning, and if the kids do not respond to the warning they do not get sweets after dinner, and if they don’t respond again the video game goes, etc…

      For maths, with the 7 year old, I give her a set amount of work per week, and if she doesn’t do it she has to do it over the weekend with something extra as she’s inconvenienced me, and she knows I’m serious.

      Basically the kids need some incentive to work. Studying is boring!


  2. Asim I am impressed with your with your kids home-school initiative. I desired my children to have such training with keen interest in learning languages (English, French and Mandarin).
    I will appreciate if i can get to learn more on the model you used in training them to attain this level.
    I have done several studies on children’s mind and it is highly productive from age 0 to 6 years which will require maximum investment in teaching them values.
    If you don’t mind you could share some of your experience with me and it will be my pleasure as I found your blog highly resourceful.


    1. Adenkunle, thanks for your kind words. With regards to sharing my experience it’s all on the blog. What else do you want to know?


  3. Hi Asim
    I found a particular sentence of interest
    “To this day I occasionally wake up, in a cold sweat, worried that my university finals are around the corner and I’ve forgotten to prepare for them – that’s how stressful they were.”
    I get a similar recurring dream 13 years after my 12th grade exams. Want to discuss your experience. Can we discuss over mail?


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