After school…

When we started homeschooling, we thought our kids would do their A-levels when they were 18, like all school kids do, and then, by default, go on to university, and, by default, get a job.

But in the 4 years our kids have been homeschooled things changed. First the A-levels got pushed earlier and earlier, then we decided our kids, by default, would not go to university, and, by default, become entrepreneurs.

It’s worth realising, if you haven’t already, that entrepreneurship is just as varied as employment. There are entrepreneurs in medicine, tech, farming, retail, property, academia, sport, etc… so entrepreneurship isn’t some narrow field we’re guiding our kids towards.

Also note that this is our default position, not a decision we have made for them. If any of our kids want to become investment bankers, doctors, academics, etc… university they’d go.

So, it looks like Maryam (13) and Danyal (11) will be finished with A-levels (18+) in 6 months. Here is our updated plan for them, in each case trying to play to their strengths, interests and the advantages they each have.

Maryam: Internships at tech companies, start a startup 6-12 months later.

Danyal: Learn coding full-time, and then hopefully work on a startup with Maryam.

Now, this is our plan for them. Nearer the time we’ll have a chat and they’ll ultimately have to decide…

Author: Asim Qureshi

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

16 thoughts on “After school…”

  1. Really i was very impressed but what you did, I need to tell you that for more than 70 min I was reading in your blog and making searches on the homeschooling just cause of you story.

    I hope for you and your family all success and happiness.

    I have couple questions for that:
    First of all I am a new father for my first time and I’m so excited.

    What the age you think we should start to learn them (languages) ? and what age the we should start to learn them other subjects ?
    Is IGCSE available for everyone so I can join my children without any requirement like age or she must be in a school or any other requirements ?

    1. Muhammed, thanks for your kind comments. Languages – I’d say around 5 years old – before that progress is very slow. Anyone can do IGCSE – just need to find a centre to register at and sit the exam.

      1. What about socializing with our children? how did you handle that with your children?
        I’m a new father, my baby still in its first month, but I attend to go with homeschooling when it is ready, but I have a lot of questions about that like, here in “Egypt” all children between 3 years and 4 years go to “infant school” I thought that should be considered either I was attending homeschooling or not for my children.
        So I need your opinion in that. If i should begin with them with infant school and after that with homeschooling? or I should from the first go with homeschooling and find another way to make them socialize !

      1. Thats true but then what type of skills will she be learning at the startup e.g. if you know coding, you can work in the software group or if you’re studying accounting, you help out in the finance group during the internship

  2. Hi Asim sir.
    I have been reading your answers on Quora for months, and I have learned a lot from your experiences on Entrepreneurship and Parenting. Your non-traditional approach towards solving problems has helped me a lot in changing my thought process.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences.

    I have one request to make.
    It would be great if you could organize all your answers categorically, like the user Deepak Mehta.
    Make separate categories for : Entrepreneurship, Parenting-advice, Study-advice, etc.
    It would help readers a lot to find related content in one place, as it takes a lot of time to scroll through all of your answers, owing to the increasing number of your answers.

    It would be a great help.

    Thanks.
    See you on Quora.

    Regards
    Shubham (India, Asia)

    1. For IGCSE and A-levels past papers are available online. Just Google it. Textbooks are also available for download (Kindle) or can be bought from any bookstore.

  3. Hi Mr Qureshi!

    I wasn’t sure where to send this question to you, so I hope you don’t mind it here.
    I’ve actually been really keen on applying to international universities, but I neglected UK universities due to the severely cold weather. However, after reading your quora posts and researching, I realise that Oxford is truly a great intellectual place to study (the type of place I’d like to be in). Unfortunately, I have competed 12th Grade and have already obtained results which I don’t think are sufficient for Oxford although they aren’t too far off from what students who get in usually get.

    I was wondering how you applied to Oxford AGAIN, since you didn’t get accepted the first time. I read that Oxford does not accept transfer students. Did you repeat a grade and then apply? Would you recommend that, since it is taking a year off.

    Thank you so much

    1. Sal, I got straight As in my A-levels, so when I took a gap year, applied with those grades, and got in.

      If your grades are slightly below what’s needed this will unlikely work for you. Basically it’s going to be very hard for you to get into Oxford. I’d suggest going elsewhere for now and possibly doing a master’s from Oxford if you do well in your undergraduate degree.

      1. Thanks for your reply (and I also apologise for my late reply)

        How come they accepted you the second time when your grades were the same?

      2. First time I didn’t have the grades, only predictions, second time I had the grades as well as an S-level distinction.

  4. Hi Asim, this and another post read that Maryam will be ~15 when she starts building businesses, and Danyal ~13.

    Are any of your kids showing interest in going to university or have they been broken of that interest by their successes in self-study? Is there a “joy of learning” or “educated”-ness (as you’ve described it in your in-laws) interest in any of them?

    As for figuring out what to do with their lives, do you see building businesses as a better faster tool for sifting through all the life-pursuit possibilities than continuing education-only past their teens (real world vs ivory tower)? To me, you have to put in years to know enough about an opportunity and to fully exploit it. In school, you have a new class next semester and suddenly realize a new passion. I’m not sure business provides that. Actually it’s sorta the reverse where the entrepreneur starts to turn into an investor and all businesses either look profitable or unprofitable (e.g. I can imagine veternarians feel this way — they love animals and but after opening their doors they realize it’s about getting employees to show up and do a good job for customers.. a management job with better pay, and that to succeed in business their new passion better be “management”! Is this why dentists work 4 days per week?)

    Regarding entrepreneurship at age 15, a concern might also be that becoming successful in business (as your kids will want to be to make dad proud) requires a level of intensity that’s too tough for most adults let alone children. At first, in particular, it can be a series of failures before one sees a few of the key flaws he or she keeps repeating. And even after making some key learnings, one might still fail due to a variety of types of bad luck.

    It’s hard for me to imagine a 15 year old starting businesses for 4 years that never really work, and then at 19 shelving the pursuit in frustration and picking “something studies” *without* feeling like a failure at Dad’s eyes… when really they just started too soon. Is the level of difficulty, uncertainty and potential to fail repeatedly at it (vs a GCSE test that can be prepared for a achieved with high certainty from practice tests) a concern for you and your wife? Any mitigation ideas?

    I’m sure so much of this is a work in progress for you and your family and clearly you’re adjusting as your going. I’m personally very much aligned with your perspective — no criticism here. In fact, I think a couple things that entrepreneurship teaches come to mind that I haven’t yet read in your posts: 1) you begin to learn how money really works and 2) you begin to learn how the world really works. It’s astonishing how much education you can receive and not understand basic money principles. And it’s crazy how far into academia/study you can go and you only get further and further from what actually motivates people. Business is a terrific teacher for both of those things. How much would our world change if the citizenry could read basic financial statements, and if everyone had had responsibility of making payroll.

    I’m interested in your thoughts. Thanks in advance!

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