Stuck at home with your kids during the lockdown? Here’s an idea…

3 years ago, Danyal, became the youngest person in the 30-year history of the Physics GCSE (UK 16+ exams) to have achieved an A*. He was 10. His sister, Maryam, also managed an A*. She was 12.

This is them with their cousin.

So, neither had studied any physics 5 months before their exams, a two-year course, and they cleared the A* boundary by ~20%.


This is how they did it…

I got 3 past papers, grouped questions by topic – so 5 mechanics questions, 4 electricity ones, etc…

I then told them to do the mechanics questions. They thought I was mad. I told them to work it out from their textbook or YouTube.

Them struggling was crucial – it’s the best way to learn – and if they couldn’t do it after trying hard enough, I’d eventually explain.

Progress was painfully slow early on.

The alternative, being spoon-fed like at schools, doesn’t stick and later on in life that’s not how you learn. Besides, I didn’t have time to teach them!

Anyway, they did the mechanics questions and then went on to the next topic’s questions, and once they’d done all the topics they just did complete past papers.

Erm, that’s how they did it, and it is essentially the same method that I learned physics at university.

And both went on to get A’s in their Physics A-levels (18+), still aged 10 and 12, which they taught themselves in 5 months.

During this lockdown why not encourage your kids to learn one of the most powerful and empowering life skills of all? The ability to self-teach.

Author: Asim Qureshi

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

4 thoughts on “Stuck at home with your kids during the lockdown? Here’s an idea…”

    1. Maths. Kids must know how to add, say, two numbers up to 100 very fast, then subtract, then multiply two numbers up to 10, then divide. This is the foundation of maths. And an 8-year-old can learn all of this in 3 weeks as long as you keep them engaged. It’s just about asking again and again. with these foundation they can then learn %, fractions, etc… and start doing past papers soon after.


  1. Asim, I am glad that Quora brings me to you and I am happy to see your family updates. I have followed your blog for a year and it really inspired me a lot. I love your idea of focus and “do it” approach.

    I am now trying to plan for my little daughter (just two years old). Of course it is just a plan at this stage and I definitely will focus on her language and daily care now.

    I would like to ask:
    (1) Before doing the IGCSE math past paper, will you go through all syllabus or Khan Academy? If not, How to know she is ready for the past paper? Or let her to try the grouped questions by topic after learning and finally the entire past paper before the exam?

    (2) If in reality I cannot adopt the home-school approach, is it practical to modify the schedule and put the study intensely on holiday (e.g summer)? Anything I need to be aware of?

    Thanks again!


    1. Sam, thanks for you kind words…

      1. Order is 1. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Khan Academy (avoiding stuff not on GCSE syllabus), lower tier GCSE past papers, higher tier GCSE past papers.

      2. Yes, that would work but if you tried it you’d probably pull your daughter out when you see how effective it is.

      Hope this helps…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: