Some Thoughts on Montessori Schools

We have been happy with our Montessori school in Berks County PA. We plan to keep our kids there through 8th grade, which is as far as this particular school goes.

All Montessori Schools are a little different, so make sure you check out the particular school you are looking at. We’ve seen some that are too preppy and focused on grades (which aren’t even a Montessori thing), or just really small and quiet/depressing.

One of the main benefits is individualized learning. Each student goes at their own pace in each subject area. Smarter kids are given higher level work as they are ready for it. Kids struggling with particular subjects are given more time to get through it.

The individualized learning is also useful if you travel a lot during the school year. We can take our kids out for 1-4 weeks at any time, and when they come back, they just pick up where they left off. They haven’t missed Chapter 12 and won’t fall behind in their classes.

I think Montessori is particularly good for younger, pre-school aged children. They really teach a level of independence that other schools don’t. Montessori kids are using scissors, and getting their own food, and helping to clean up, and all of that kind of stuff a lot earlier than non-Montessori kids.

Depending on the school, children are in classrooms with older and younger kids. Our school has two pre-K/K classrooms, one 1-3 classroom, and 4-8 classroom. They also might have the same teachers year after year, which is good as the staff really gets to know your particular kids and their needs.

Some of the benefits taper off as the kids age. You probably want a PHD teaching your kids Physics in a more college-like setting. At the same time, Montessori is good for addressing the emotional needs of pre-teens and teenagers. It’s a relatively safer environment than typical public schools. I’ve found the Montessori staff more open to address the emotional growth of our children along with the academic growth.

If you are comparing a private Montessori school vs a public school, there is also just a huge difference when you are paying a private school. You are a customer and they will listen to you and generally do more for you to keep you as a customer. What might take an independent education plan (IEP) and 6 months of back and forth meetings in a public school, is usually just one meeting with a private school.

Bitcoin hits $1000. Where is it going?

I’m bullish on Bitcoins, from a price perspective and also from a technology perspective.
Like many out there, I’m kicking myself for not jumping on the bandwagon sooner. I remember when they were $5 and I was first reading about them. I remember when they were less than $1 per coin, and my office computer could mine about 1 per week, thinking it wasn’t worth the electricity cost. I remember wanting to buy 200 of them at $10 each as a speculation play with our InvestorGeeks ad money, and then wanting …

Looks like a buying opportunity in BBBY

My Mom asked me about Bed Bath and Beyond recently. She used to be a store manager there. She sold her stock a while ago (missed that big up swing) but thinks there may be a buying opportunity now. I also owned some way back and sold after a small gain, missing most of the big 2-3 year rally here.
Anyway, here is my analysis and response to her. (The spreadsheet I refer to is one based on Phil Town’s Payback Time book you should be able to find on his …

Would I Buy Netflix in the $50s?

Netflix lowered their subscriber numbers for the year last night, leading to a big 14% drop in the stock price today (so far). Fellow InvestorGeek Chris texted me asking if I’d be buying Netflix in the 50s.
I personally won’t be buying any $NFLX stock today, but only because I already own a lot of Netflix stock int he $60s. I have too much tied up in $NFLX already to add to my position. Though I may buy in more later this year, early next, as I fund my account and if …

Mistake #2: Playing Designer

Unless your business is website design or something else in the arts, you don’t need a beautiful website. A nice looking website is a bonus, but make sure you’re working towards a functioning website instead of something that will look great printed out and framed on your wall.

Oftentimes when going over design mockups or newly updated websites, you’ll find yourself leaning back in your chair and staring at your homepage for a minute or two taking it all in.

Stop it! No one browses the web this way.

If you think of your website as a work of art, you surely will find little things here and there that might be smaller or larger or a little bit to the right. Resist the urge to do this.

If you know the primary goal of your website (see post #1), make sure the design focuses on that goal. Focus your design feedback on how well the design enables sales, mailing list sign ups, contact requests, etc.

As for website design, hire an experienced web designer at a decent rate and trust their instincts for what looks good.

If you hassle your designer with a lot of feedback on what “looks good”, they are going to shut down and move into “code monkey” mode where they just code up whatever requests you have. Unless you are paying bottom dollar (in which case you get what you pay for) you are wasting money by paying designer rates for code monkey work.

More importantly, micro managing a code monkey will not get you as good of a website as one where you control the vision via a strong primary goal, and an experienced designer controls the particulars of the site’s look and feel.

View all posts in this series here.

Mistake #1: Lack of Goals

One of the biggest mistakes made by website owners is to have a website that is totally detached from any business activity.

Maybe your website is beautiful. Maybe it has tons of information about your business. But what is the goal of your website?

What do you want people who visit your website to do?

If you haven’t thought about this question yet, do it. Some good answers are:

  • Buy my product.
  • Sign up for my mailing list.
  • Call me for an appointment.
  • Follow me on social media.
  • Fill out a contact form.
Mistake #1 has a corollary: Too Many Goals.
When asked what the goal of your website is, you might have answered 2-5 things. Great! Throw away items 2 through 5. What was your first answer? Do that. On your homepage.

WordCamp Philly 2012 Scholarship

I’ll be speaking at WordCamp Philly coming up October 20th and 21st this year. Would you like to join me? Do you want to mingle with the smartest folks working on WordPress in the Philly area and beyond? Are you a little strapped for cash and balking at the $20-$25 tickets?

Well have no fear. We’ve raised enough money via CharityGoal (runs on WordPress, show it some love) to provide scholarships for 4 attendees to this year’s WordCamp Philly. Big thanks to Scott Kingsley Clark who donated on behalf of the Pods Framework.

What?

  • One Saturday or Full Weekend Pass (your choice) to WordCamp Philly, October 20th and 21st 2012.

How?

  • Make sure you are available to attend. Did I mention the conference is October 20th and 21st, 2012?
  • Write in the comments here or by email (a) how you would benefit from going to WordCamp Philly, and (b) why we should pick you over the others trying.
  • Optionally, send out a tweet thanking @Jason_Coleman and @ScottClark for the opportunity.

I will pick four lucky winners by October 1st and announce them here.

WineLog Signups Disabled. When Are They Coming Back?

Hello all. Recently the spam accounts have been getting out of hand. I tried to add some extra protection to our signup form, but that was quickly worked around by the spammers.

For the time being, I have disabled all new signups on the site. If someone really wants to signup for a new account, please email me and I’ll set you up right away.

Current users will not be affected at all. (You should actually see some performance improvements as we move the site to a beefier server and the spammers stop trying to use the site.)

A newer version of WineLog has been in the works for a while, which included a new signup and authentication system. We will likely be waiting until that is ready (sometime in the Fall) before activating new signups again.

Thanks

SPY: Trend Has Changed

The closing price for SPY has rissen above its 200-day moving average, indicating a long-term upward trend.
The closing price for SPY has rissen above its 50-day moving average, indicating an intermediate-term upward trend.
Trend for SPY as of Monday July 16th, 2012
Long-term: Up
Intermediate: Up
Short-Term: Down
Chart for SPY

This post was generated by our Market Trends tool. The trends are simply based on the 10, 50, and 200-day moving averages. View the current market trends or analyze your own stocks.