I like to keep things friendly and informal, but some things have to be spelled out pretty strictly, for the sake of everyone. You will notice most of our policies are design to protect the learning of others.

Is my time slot reserve?

Not until you have paid for your invoice.

This means anyone looking at the schedule will see that time as available until it is paid and could potentially sign up for it even after you have received an invoice. The invoice would be cancelled in that case.

When do I have to pay for the next block?

Four weeks in advance.

Because we have a waiting list for planning purposes it is important we get continuing blocks taken care of about a month in advance. About five weeks prior to the end of your current block you will get an invoice to continue in that same time slot for the next block. Every invoice must be paid within seven days meaning that you will have paid for your block in full four weeks before it starts.

Can I get a refund?

No refunds.

Be sure of what you want and your schedule before you commit. If you are not sure wait until you are. I have very few time slots so I must be sure you really want to learn here.

What if I miss a lesson?

You can push out two lessons for every block of 16.

Life happens. I get it. Weather, traffic, homework, conflicting events, unexpected opportunities, over-scheduled exhaustion, all are understandable but they don't change the reality that there is very little flexibility in the schedule.

You can also push out lessons during the holidays.

⚠️ Always inform me immediately if you are not coming. ⚠️

Can I get a free make-up?

Absolutely not.

Remember, resources have already been spent for that time whether you come or not. I operate with very low margins so giving them away for free is just not possible, even if the reason is completely understandable. I need to maintain the bottom line, for the sake of everyone. I would quickly go out of business if we did not.

Can't I just make-up the lesson online?

No, but it's better than nothing.

Online learning can never be as good as when in person. The entire model and method of my private lessons is built on doing highly personalized things one-on-one. Every SkilStak may be based on common researched material but is highly crafted for the individual learning style of each person.

Also often a lesson will be based on a technology or topic that has been released or discussed that very week. MS Live Share, Phaser3, Go modules, Heartbleed, all had lessons within one week or them coming out to introduce the impact they had while it was relevant.

What if I'm early or late?

No more than five minutes early or late.

I understand life happens but it doesn't change the reality of the schedule. Truth is, there is never a good excuse to be late or early, ever. Manage your time. Arrive very early to the area and wait close by. Bring something to do while you wait. Make sure your ride does not leave the area during your lesson and stays close by.

If it helps consider when I am expected to teach at a school I also can never be late. There is absolutely no excuse or latitude for me to not be ready exactly on time, every time. Why should I expect anything less from you?

It's not just the time lost. Often arriving late affects your ability to focus and learn. If you are paired it directly affects that person as well. Arriving on time—or slightly early—allows you to prepare mentally and be ready to learn right away.

Can I be kicked out or disqualified?

Yes, and some have been.

When you join our community you agree to uphold our values and views and can be removed without refund for violating them. I reserve the right to make that judgement myself.

Much like Mr. Miyagi's agreement with Danielson which included not questioning his method, for example, what “wax on, wax off” had to do with Karate we value the spirit and respect of that agreement while encouraging open, respectful debate.

Therefore, any action—or encouraging anyone in our community to follow a course of action—opposed to of our values and views in any of our community spaces, online or physical, could result in disqualification and removal from the community without refund. (But, you get three strikes so don't obsess about it.)

One example of a violation would be encouraging a new member of our community asking which language to learn first to learn Java or C or Python knowing full well that everyone at SkilStak first learns BaseML followed by HTML, CSS, and modern JavaScript. There's a reason for that, one that has taken literally days of research and debate to conclude.

It is not that the encouragement itself is wrong, but it makes the work of helping the beginner learn that much harder based on everything we did to arrive at that conclusion.

By the way, I never make such important conclusions lightly and never do things just because everyone else is doing it. It is one main thing that makes membership in this community so valuable.

Can I get a letter of recommendation?

Yes, during your lesson.

I simply do not have room in the schedule to write such letters anytime other than during your lesson.

Please prepare for any such request by having the following ready in advance:

  • accomplishments with specific, measurable results;
  • completed, public projects with URLs (GitLab or GitHub);
  • instructions for Common App or other service.