Sunday, 9 February 2014

Meeting The Neighbours

Emily (left) and Anna (right)

When we were living in Paris, we didn't know our neighbours. There was no real need and, frankly, that's not something that you were supposed to do. I could rely on family and friends over there. Well, things are slightly different in London and, over the years, I have become more and more accustomed to using local services. For instance, when I need a babysitter for my children, I use a website called Babysitters of Kensington And Chelsea . Believe it or not the young entrepreneur who created the website lives very close by and is called Anna.

This morning, Anna had organised a coffee for parents and some small local businesses to meet up. Being such a regular user of her website, I went with my younger daughter. The bad news (for me), is that I was surrounded by bright young things who had set up a business from scratch. It all made me feel ancient and slightly out of touch but hey, you have got to live with your time, right? Am feeling very tired right now. I hope it is not the onset of menopause.


Let me explain: I first met Emily, who has set up a tutoring business and who told me that she has 60 (yes, 60!) bright young tutors, and some of them are even helping kids as far as the Bahamas. She has set up Kings Tutors, and I feel slightly guilty not to pay any tutors for my kids. You see, I still do things the French way and check my children's homework every evening, but Emily told me that it is a competitive world out there and now I don't know what to do. Why are we mums always feeling guilty about everything? Will my kids miss out because of me? I sometimes wonder. 

Patricia and my daughter's hand

Finally, I bumped into Patricia, the creator of Kids in Guide. Basically, her website lists all the possible activities for kids in London, including birthday party venues and sport activities. I was looking for swimming lessons during half term for my little one and found three possible schools near where we live thanks to her website. I had been trying to book something for ages. Silly old me. Patricia wants to roll out her site in Madrid and in New York. Wow. Bright young girls and mumtrepreneurs are clearly on their way to world domination. Beware. Seriously, I hadn't realised that there were so many good local businesses out there, and that they were run mostly by women. Who said girls were sitting on their bottoms and waiting for things to happen? Even with a day job and sometimes kids, such women have put themselves out there, and I have to admit that I am humbled by such initiatives. And a bit jealous too, because I feel a bit past my sell-by date right now.  Things move really fast: I thought that having a blog was, you know, giving me an edge, but now it is all about going local. I hadn't realised that Internet could get to know your local communities in ways I didn't even think were possible, but this morning's coffee is evidence of this. Right, off to have a nap now. At my advanced age, I need all the rest I can get.

17 comments:

  1. Good on these young ladies. I teach business ventures in Secondary school. This is a great story. Unfortunately, this year I have only two girls in my class.

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    1. Really? Only two girls? Well, you totally need to come to London! I can't believe that so many bright young women have set up businesses over here.

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  2. Why would you need to pay for a tutor if your children are doing okay at school? Modern parents often overload their kids with activities which leads to stress and lack of confidence. If your kids are happy, let them be! :)

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    1. That's exactly what I am doing Sarah. That said, I might be in denial: the system over here is very competitive.

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    2. Certainly agree with you Sarah that tutoring is not needed if your child is thriving at school... It is often the case that students are not lacking in ability but are instead in need of a key to unlock this potential. Private tuition can help this as a tutor can focus on the individual needs of a pupil and go through the syllabus at a correct pace for your child; something that can not happen in a classroom.
      In addition to this, tuition is great if a child needs to catch up with school work due to illness or preparing for a bespoke entrance exam. Tuition also works wonders for those who need help with their self confidence when it comes to what can actually be achieved in the classroom.

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  3. I'm happy to hear things like this are happening within the community! As for the tutor question, I suppose it is something you can only remain open to, should it become a necessity at some stage?

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    1. You are right. I need to keep all my options open. that said, i don't remember tutoring being that big a thing in France. But maybe things have changed?

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  4. I think it was great of Anna to create a networking event for her pals. That's a great way for all to benefit.

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    1. She is so talented! Where do they all find the energy?

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  5. I replied to this before saying that this country isall about local communities supporting local initiatives. This is not the first time that I have commented on your blog post and my comments haven't been approved..why?

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    1. That's what I like about London: it might be a big city, but it is all about local communities. As for your comments, I have just checked the admin board and couldn't find any of yours? I approve everything I get, except a website that seems to be into bondage (they are bombarding me with posts), and I suspect it wasn't you...Sorry if there was a technical glitch.

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  6. Love this! We can go global with our blogs and local with our businesses or vice versa. Keeping up with the times is pretty well impossible, so don't sweat it. Technology and it's tentacles are going faster than the human brain. An incredible but also scary thought.

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    1. A scary thought indeed. After all, I am doing what I can.

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  7. There is a lot of online tutoring in the United States, where I live, and I know an unemployed teacher who signed up for one of these services. She had a newborn baby and didn't want to try job hunting at that point in time. It is a shame that England sounds like the U.S. in that school is becoming increasingly competitive - I would have said, years ago (my son is grown) that no tutoring needed if the child is doing well. Nowadays....I'm not current enough to be able to comment.

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    1. When I grew up, no tutoring was needed. It looks like things have changed, and not necessarily for the better. I don't want my children to miss out, but at the same time I don't agree with pushing kids that much. Well, as a mum, you are always made to feel guilty, right?

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  8. It's funny the way that the internet opens up different aspects of our lives. I think tutors are useful if you want your kids to get into schools that have competitive entrance exams. It's a total waste of time in every other way, but it is important if that is what you want. Talk about being ancient, wait till you have grandchldren and suddenly become 80 years old overnight! :)

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    1. It doesn't get any better, does it? Things are just going to fast for me.

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