Learning 18+ Maths via WhatsApp…

As mentioned in the last post, the 3 kids are teaching themselves their Maths and Further Maths A-levels, the UK 18+ exams.

I’ve had a ton of parents, and some students, ask me how this is possible. It’s really easy…

Ok, they’ve teamed up with two friends, age 12 and 15, so it’s a group of 5 kids in total. We’ve set up a WhatsApp group. This makes it all a bit more social and fun. And we’ll soon have regular coffee tutorials where they will help each other with problems.

So, I set the questions in WhatsApp, the kids just do it, somehow. And that’s it!

Here’s a snapshot. You only see Maryam and myself as I’ve selected a bit where the other kids’ numbers (or their parents) are not shown.

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 11.13.07

In the first 3 weeks they completed three C1 papers. Each paper is one sixth of an A-level (Edexcel board). Just think about that! And that was them taking it easy as I didn’t know what pace was realistic.

They marked their work themselves, as the mark scheme is available, and I trust them enough to let them decide if they understand the question or not. They all appreciate that it’s their exam coming up, not mine.

It’s about making kids realise why they’re studying, it’s about making the exams their problem, not mine.

I gave them a slightly aggressive 8 days to do their first C2 paper, which they seem to be on target for. Remember, no-one has ever taught them the material in C2, and you can see how they’re helping one another by sending useful links. I will probably give them another 10 days to do two more C2 papers.

I am guessing that once they have done 3 papers they kind of have a fair understanding of each topic, and we can move on. We’ll revisit everything towards exam time.

Right now they’re spending around 1 to 1.5 hours a day. My 3 kids are working together, learning to work together as a team, but also learning to work remotely with other kids!

I’ve warned the kids that they need to enjoy the next 5 months, and they are by doing plenty of other stuff. Come 1 January 2018 the work load will start to increase. I am advising them to be mentally ready to sacrifice their lives for these exams from around April 2018…

Self-Schooling…

Ok, since we’ve come back from our trip to the UK, about 3 weeks ago, it’s been chill out time!

Just before we left for the UK the kids wrapped up their exams. For Maryam, in particular, it was tough. She has worked about 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for about 3 months. She didn’t meet many friends during that exam-intense period – and so she wasn’t the happiest girl in the world.

But all bad things come to an end (I just made that up). Now there are no exams for almost a year! Things feel really relaxed, they’re meeting friends regularly, watching plenty of films, the kids are enjoying it.

The kids know what they need to do now, and getting on with their stuff.

What is amazing is that Isabelle and myself are essentially out of the picture. It’s no longer homeschool – it is self-school. Our kids are educating themselves.

Hey, what?! Yes, they’re educating themselves, and here’s how:

  • The kids are working together, teaching themselves Maths A-level, with two other kids that have joined in. I set the past papers, they do it. When they get stuck they ask each other, Google it, or if that fails, they ask me via WhatsApp group we’ve set up.
  • They’re teaching themselves coding, to build their game app. Plenty of resources online. I asked a coder who used to build games to give them some guidance over WhatsApp. Any questions, they can ask him.
  • Maryam is trying to start her business – but she needs so to figure it all out herself (it’s an online business). She asks me things once in a while.
  • The language-learning is now pretty much all online, and they have their schedule to stick to.

So Isabelle has taken a full-time remote job as CFO of LaunchPad, my tech venture builder, and all she does homeschool-wise is take the kids to their various group activities – football, art, study groups, and visit her friends that have kids of a similar age to ours.

And I play squash with the kids every morning. That is it!

If you can teach your kids to teach themselves, but it has taken us almost 4 years to get here, it all becomes VERY easy. We’re now doing next to nothing.

And everyone still tells us we’re such dedicated and committed parents that have made huge sacrifices for our kids!