A Morning Run…

Yesterday, Danyal put behind him a pretty amazing chapter in his life. He finished his A-levels (UK 18+ exams) aged 11.

So, he taught himself Mathematics and Further Mathematics mainly from YouTube videos, and, of course, last year he did his Physics A-level and got an A.

This morning we went for a run and discussed what he’ll do next with his life. He’s thinking about a combination of:

1. Play football up to 3 hours a day to see if he has a realistic chance of playing in the Premiership one day.

2. Try to get his squash to national-level.

3. Try to break the world record for 5km for an 11-year-old – he’d have to go damn intensive as he’ll turn 12 in 4 months.

4. Become damn good at coding – to start a tech startup.

5. Brush up his 6 languages – some have been very low priority in recent months due to exams.

6. Spend a lot of time loafing around with friends.

Now, all of this was possible because my wife and I just decided to TRY to homeschool our 3 kids 5 years ago. We just gave it a two-week TRIAL after which all of us loved it.

If we hadn’t TRIED he’d still be learning algebra at school.

You gotta try in life. And keep trying. Sure, trying usually gets you nowhere but if you keep at it, embrace it in every aspect of your life, it will eventually pay off in ways you never imagined possible.

A-Levels

We’ve decided to press ahead with Maryam and Danyal’s A-levels despite Danyal having only done 3 IGCSE’s – he’ll probably do two more this coming November and January.

Maryam has been working on her A-level Biology with Isabelle for a few months. I’ve decided to keep the momentum (ha ha!) with their Physics IGCSE and go for the Physics A-level rather than a Maths A-level, which we’ll do later. Also, given I have a degree in physics, I feel a little nostalgic about it all, so physics it is.

We have 5 months until their Physics A-level exams – it was either that or drag it on for an extra year. 5 seems like a good a challenge.

A lot of people ask me why the urgency? My response is why the complacency? We’re not doing 12 hour days – we’re doing a total of 5 or 6 hours of study during each weekday, no homework – and there is tons of time for sport, reading, meeting friends and pissing about.

I told them on the day they started studying for their Physics A-level that the spoon feeding needs to stop – they can grab me if they don’t understand things, they have the text book, they have Google, they have each other. They work when they want, if they want. It’s their lives and it’s up to them, not me, to get the grades.

The pep talk has worked. The physics text book is 166 pages, and four days into it they have gone through 65 pages – so that’s 40% of the syllabus (hello?) – but bear in mind it’s the first 40 pages so it’s mostly covering iGCSE stuff they’ve already done – and at this stage there would be some gaps in their understanding of the material they’ve covered. Hopefully they’ll be done with the text book in another 2 weeks and then it’s just past papers, which will fill any gaps, until they do their exams.

How can my kids even have a chance of doing an A-level in 5 months? Trust me, they’re not geniuses – it’s just that they are leveraging off the power of intensity.

I’ll keep you posted on progress…

Someone has already asked me how the kids will do the practical exam. I’ve found out that although the board, Edexcel, says it’s ‘compulsory’, it is really optional – it doesn’t affect the grade, and if one does the practical they just get an extra 1 or 2 next to their grade, which no-one cares about. Do I care that the kids will not learn how to do physics practicals? No.