Planning WAY ahead?

<p>Hi, everyone, </p>

<p>My oldest son is twelve years old as I type this, homeschooled and so far without a declared grade skip. I find this CC site interesting because I ONLY applied to my State U. when I was in high school. I have an undergraduate and professional degree from that school. In later years, through business travel, I have happened to visit the famous "top" schools of the United States, some repeatedly. My oldest son has some subject matter interests that fit the "top" school programs, and I think we should gather information about those schools and see where he desires to apply when he gets older. </p>

<p>Let me ask for some advice: besides finding out about colleges early on, which we are already doing, what would you suggest that a parent do to help a child be ready to make a successful application to a "dream" school, no matter how selective? (I am aware that no strategy for getting ready can be a sure thing, but what strategy is most sensible, and best for a child's overall development, whether he gets into the top school or not?) What do you recommend to parents of children younger than your own children that you think more parents ought to consider? What are the easiest issues for a parent to overlook? </p>

<p>Thanks for any thoughts you have.</p>

<p>I'm not a parent, and definitely have no experience in homeschooling, but while at an information session for one of my choice colleges recently there was a question asked about how they evaluate homeschooled applicants. Since your son would (assumably) be in this situation when he applies to college, I think documenting his curriculum and getting him independent assessments (e.g. AP or SATII exams) at appropriate points would really help to back up your methods. It might be a little early to start this now, but when he is of high school age or doing high school level work it might be prudent to take some time to save you a giant headache when it comes to presenting materials.</p>

<p>Getting him outside assessment might also be really useful for having objective recommendations written in the future. The adcom at this particular event related an anecdote about how she had read the application of one young man whose mother had written the guidance counselor's rec, both teacher recs, and a supplementary rec. She suggested professors from any college courses the student might have taken (again, I don't know if this applies), a mentor for an internship, etc.</p>

<p>For me, my parents have never really said "Today we're going to find you a college." Instead, as we travelled on family vacations we would perhaps walk around a college campus and if it interested me, sit in on an info session. That started when I was in eighth grade perhaps (about thirteen?), and I've had a pretty solid idea of knowing where I will apply for a year or so. However, my first choice school wasn't my original first choice, and it's funny for me to even imagine that I had at one point dreamed of such a different school. So, take whatever dreams your son has at the moment and do whatever's possible to foster them; just know they're very liable to change.</p>

<p>Good luck :)</p>

<p>Good advice, Snapple! </p>

<p>It seems incredibly early for you to be thinking about specific colleges for your son. I can't imagine what you'll gain by stretching the process out over so many years -- except a lot of anxiety. You sound bright. Your son sounds bright. If you start to investigate specific colleges when he's 16, that's soon enough. There's not really that much to it. Between now and then, his academic interests may change - and certainly his perspective will change. </p>

<p>On the other hand, if you're asking if there is anything you can do to make him a more attractive candidate, then maybe 12 isn't too soon. There's barely enough time to win academic prizes, become a nationally ranked athlete, develop a hook, study for the SAT... I think this isn't what you're asking.</p>

<p>topcat0214, you thought snapple05 gave me good advice, and I agree. You also wrote, "On the other hand, if you're asking if there is anything you can do to make him a more attractive candidate, then maybe 12 isn't too soon. . . . I think this isn't what you're asking." </p>

<p>Well, maybe that is what I'm asking. My oldest son's subject matter interests are certainly subject to change, but I have investigated what seems to be a normal path for junior-high and high-school age kids interested in his favorite subject to follow to pursue that interest in depth. In general, I know that my own high school (not far from where I live today) does a generally lousy job of preparing students for a top school in that subject. I know all about how to document my children's learning through homeschooling in a way that will communicate to our friendly state university that the kids are ready for college, but I don't know the world of the more selective colleges much at all--but I think they might be a better fit for one or more of my children than State U would be. </p>

<p>Twelve-year-olds who end up in the most selective colleges spend time doing what every twelve-year-old I know does: playing and having fun with friends. But they also spend time doing things, I think, that get them ready for the challenge of tougher-than-average high school courses, and ready to apply to schools that are hardly ever sure things for anyone. For a child who has a lot of ways of having fun, some of which are quite academic, it might well be worthwhile to prepare for a more intense academic experience than people usually have at State U. </p>

<p>Any other advice that onlookers have would be greatly appreciated. I agree it is much too early to focus on one particular school, or even one "short list" of schools, but I wish, looking back on my childhood, I had known about schools outside of my own home town when I pondered where to apply to college.</p>

<p>"what would you suggest that a parent do to help a child be ready to make a successful application to a "dream" school, no matter how selective? (I am aware that no strategy for getting ready can be a sure thing, but what strategy is most sensible, and best for a child's overall development, whether he gets into the top school or not?)"</p>

<p>First, I would ask: "Whose 'dream' school are you asking about? His--or yours?" </p>

<p>When my girls were 12, they didn't have a "dream college." Indeed, they didn't even WANT to go to any college at all back then. And I thought this was just fine. I certainly didn't want them to waste their time and our money on college just because they felt it was something they were "supposed to do." I figured that thinking about college could wait until THEY were motivated and interested in doing something about it.</p>

<p>Encouraging a love of reading, writing, and problem-solving should serve any child well, whether he is going to go to college or not. </p>

<p>Look for opportunities for your child to contribute to his community in joyful and vibrant collaborations with others (not because it will "look good on an application," but because learning how to work with others toward a common goal can be a key to lifelong happiness.) </p>

<p>Help him discover the satisfaction that comes from hard and meaningful work of his own choosing. </p>

<p>Give him the chance to meet lots of interesting people in your community who might inspire and challenge him.</p>

<p>Set a good example. Let him see you pursuing your own passions, and give him the freedom to explore and find his passions.</p>

<p>Encourage him to take ownership of his education and his life. My girls found lots of inspiration in Grace Llewellyn's "TeenAge Liberation Handbook." It wasn't so much the specific suggestions Llewellyn made that were iimportant, it was more the independent do-it-your-own-way/find-your-own-path spirit she celebrates.</p>

<p>Childhood is too short and too sweet to allow its course to be dictated by the fickle whims of admissions officers. </p>

<p>There is no discernable rhyme nor reason to the admissions process, and the desiderata of adcoms change like the tides, partly driven by the changing rating systems designed to sell magazines.</p>

<p>America is the land of second chances and lots of choices, a place where people can make the most of their opportunities to lead happy and successful lives if they have resilience and optimism and personal energy. Those are qualities worth cultivating. </p>

<p>Ultimately, we parents can't control everything. Indeed, there's very little we can actually control, but sometimes things turn out amazingly in spite of us.</p>

<p>The story of Persi Diaconis is instructive. The son of two NYC musicians, he dropped out of school at 14 and ran away from home as a magician's apprentice, abandoning his violin studies at Julliard (after 9 years of study!) to search the world for great card tricks. </p>

<p>A decade after he ran away from home, he picked up a probability book in a bookstore. The book had been highly recommended by a friend, but Persi was frustrated by his inability to read it, since he didn't know calculus. So he decided to go to night school at City College. As he put it: ""They wouldn't take me during the day because I was something of a strange person."</p>

<p>Something caught fire and he decided to apply to top grad schools. Harvard took him on the strength of a very unorthodox recommendation from recreational mathematician Martin Gardner who wrote something like "I don't know how good he is at math, but there have been three great card tricks invented in the last 10 years, and this guy invented two of them." Persi went on to get his Ph.D. from Harvard and later got one of those MacArthur genius fellowships. He's now a professor at Stanford.</p>

<p>There's lots of inspiration out there--for another unorthodox story of a homeschool kid who took ownership of his education, read Bill Stein's biography on his website:
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>And, of course, homeschoolers don't have a monopoly on taking ownership of their education. Richard Feynman's autobiographies make clear that he certainly took ownership of his, even while attending public schools--thanks to the public library, and with inspiration from his storytelling mom and his "question-authority" uniform salesman dad. Isaac Asimov is another inspirational autodidact. So is Martin Gardner. Going back further in time, there's Abraham Lincoln.</p>

<p>For girls, there are lots of great stories about girls who took ownership of their education--since they often had little choice in the old days. One of my favorrite stories is Sonia Kovalevsky's:
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>The biography section of the public library is a wonderful source of is the non-fiction section....and the fiction section too, for that matter.</p>

<p>I'll close with words of wisdom from a gifted writer for young adults who has touched our lives, Lloyd Alexander:</p>

<p>"On Fantasy:</p>

<p>When asked how to develop intelligence in young people, Einstein answered: 'Read fairy tales. Then read more fairy tales.' I can only add: Yes, and the sooner the better. Fairy tales and fantasies nourish the imagination. And imagination supports our whole intellectual and psychological economy. Not only in literature, music, and painting spring from the seedbed of imagination; but, as well, all the sciences, mathematics, philosophies, cosmologies."
Excerpt from: <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>tokenadult - I wish I had started thinking about D's college choices earlier; because of our situation (me being American in our British household) she is depending on me to know things about the US system that I'm now finding out very late. While I agree with homeschoolmom in part, I think you are asking how to give good parental direction to your child and I would say when he "looks for opportunities to contribute" as was mentioned, and finds something he enjoys, document it! Encourage a regular, steady commitment over time. When he meets those "interesting people in your community", encourage him form relationships with them and they then become a source of recommendation letters. I don't mean to do it BECAUSE it will look good on an application, but to take what he enjoys and make it show up well on an application. (I hope this is making sense - there are days when I feel like I'm losing it trying to help D). One thing I have noticed on many apps are questions about leadership; it doesn't seem to matter for what, but if your S finds a real interest, maybe you can help him understand the value of moving into leadership in that activity and not just for the college app, as there are many other rewards to be gained. Or if he has some ideas for a group to implement, he has a chance to start a program. I know with D, there are chances she wouldn't have passed up because of time constraints if she had known then what she knows now. Specifically, I'd say that for my gregarious, high achieving, all-rounder D, she would have chosen a bit less time for socializing if it conflicted with another opportunity of interest, only on a few specific occasions. And on these occasions, funnily enough, I had a bad feeling about her choices. Usually I'm a big supporter of her socializing as she has made positive, wholesome friendship choices and she's such a hard worker, but on these few occasions, I kind of knew effort should be spent elsewhere with her limited time. So I guess that without in any way taking the process away from your child or shortening his childhood, you could try to help him to really take on board as early as possible that there are consequences as well as choices for how you spend your time.</p>

<p>While my junior daughter and I are in the thick of the college process, I do have a 13-year old son who is benefitting from what I'm learning. During the summer, I sent him to two weeks of computer camp. He returned with the idea that he wants to study computer science. By reading these boards and other research, I've discovered which colleges excel in computer science. My son started checking the websites of these colleges and found out what is required to enter these schools. As a result, his grades have gone up this year because he has "motivation". His attitude toward Boy Scouts has changed - he is now actively seeking leadership roles. </p>

<p>My suggestion? Use this time to help your son explore his interests, to find his "motivation".</p>

<p>Now if I could just find a way to motivate my son to take more showers without nagging.</p>

<p>Token, I think you have gotten very good advice so far for about six or eight different kids...but which one is your oldest? As a homeschooling dad, I tend to think Snapple's advice was right on the mark, but then I'm an engineer and so is my wife: both of our children showed early signs of being very interested in math and science. What a surprise! For this kind of kid, you are not too early in the planning stages, as you want to feed the appetite for science and math, and probably plan his future curriculum so that your oldest can take calculus early, since calculus is quite helpful with other scientific subject matter. We teach calculus in ninth grade, in our house, but that's because of our personal situation.</p>

<p>But if your oldest seems to be headed more for the liberal arts, or hasn't identified any areas of interest, then I suggest that you map out a couple of paths, one oriented to science and math, one to literature and history, perhaps one to languages and/or social studies...the point is to think about how the high school years might be spent so that you can provide opportunities for your children to be exposed to many areas of knowledge. Until the student has some subject-matter passions, the best course is to keep the variety and the rigor high.</p>

<p>If your eldest seems headed for math and/or science, I can give some more concrete suggestions.</p>


<p>Hi, we actually met on another forum. When I began posting there, my S was about 12 or 13. He is now applying to colleges! Time flies. While we were not thinking of specific colleges when my S was 12, the direction in which he was headed was already clear. Here are some general comments, based on our experience in "semi-homeschooling" our S (combining high school with enrichment and college classes).</p>

<p>Without necessarily planning for a dream college, there's plenty that can be done when your child is 12, especially when s/he is homeschooled. By the time a student is 12, s/he often has developed certain academic preferences, so parents can judge what kind of schools might appeal. A student who is mostly interested in literature and social studies will not be attracted to an engineering school, for example. Besides checking out the websites of schools in which your child might be interested, it could be useful to download the application forms to see what kind of questions they ask of the applicant and the recommender.
If your son is taking formal classes (including distance classes), make sure that you get a recommendation from the teacher of that class, to keep on file. Even if that recommendation letter cannot be used directly, it can be referred to when writing the equivalent of a GC report.
Make sure that your son fulfills what would be the standard high school curriculum in terms of English, social studies, math, science, foreign languages.
If your child is taking courses at a college, copy the course description (catalog entries sometimes change). My S has appended a list of the college courses he has taken, together with the description for each, and the grade he received in the courses.
Document the extra-curricular activities your child is involved in, including competitions.
For homeschooled students, standardized testing is particularly important. As your child completes a subject, ask him to take the SAT-II.
There is a caveat to this recommendation, however: unless students specifically request it, the scores of SAT tests taken before 9th grade are not kept on file. If you are satisfied with the scores your child took before he turned 14, you will need to request that ETS keep them so that they can be released in due time. I know of one case where a student took the SAT for a Talent Search in 7th grade and scored 1550. Her parents rightly felt there was no need for her to retake it later.
There are many summer programs that cater to academically inclined kids and may appeal to yours.<br>
All of this having been said, I also agree with homeschoolmom to let your child develop on his own, to let him engage in activities that are not structured and purposeful, and above all to cultivate friendships. As my S has pursued a somewhat unusual curriculum, he has had to invest more effort into making and keeping friends than we envisaged when he was 12.<br>
Hope this helps.</p>

<p>Wonderful post, homeschoolmom. I especially liked that last bit about fairy tales. My kids grew up on CS Lewis, Tolkien, and lots of other really good imaginative writing. So far they have all excelled (one of them in math and science, so fairy tales aren't just for literary types!). Feeding the imagination is SO important.</p>

<p>I was an Ivy interviewer and I interviewed my share of dead souls (sorry, but it was true, and every interviewer knows it - there can be "dead souls" already at age 18.... the lack of passion, of interest, of creative leadership, etc....the glazed over eyes...the robotic responses....the high numbers but lack of an interior life). People often wonder why so many valedictorians (HUGE percentages) are turned down by Ivies and other elites while others get in. In our school, a dozen teachers (at different times) in a discussion pointed out that the Val of our school had the highest GPA to the thousandth of a point ---- but was a grade grub, not a creative thinker.
This has happened many times over the years in our school system.</p>

<p>BTW NONE of those kids got into the Ivy I was interviewing for - don't know how much it had to do with the interview, which normally doesn't count for much unless it is negative, but I gave them bottle-of-the-barrel scores and I was contacted for details......</p>

<p>Many thanks for the thought-provoking replies. I had more to say, but my first attempt to reply got eaten by a log-in bug here on CC. Oldest son is very passionate about fields of interest that dear wife and I don't know well from our own higher education, and that aren't well supported in our local public school system, alas. So we try to ask questions early (as here) to make sure we aren't denying our children opportunities to develop their passions as they grow up in our care. </p>

<p>Good luck to your children as they grow up in the real world.</p>

<p>One thing you might do for your son is encourage reading Newsweek or Time and some of the New York Times (perhaps a few articles a week for now), especially related to his specific subject interest. My dad just always left Time sitting around where I would see it, and I started reading it about that age. I also read two newspapers a day through high school, and I thinked that helped me a lot in various ways. </p>

<p>You could also get him a subscription to a basic magazine in his area of interest. I think these could work with his home schooling as well. </p>

<p>One thing I did wrong with my D, now a college sophomore, was to encourage her to dream big and apply to any college she was interested in. We found later that we could only afford a more modest college, and it was sad for both of us. I feel I misled her by not realizing what our finances could really bear. So...consider your financial situation now as you begin to encourage your son in looking ahead to college.</p>

<p>When DS was a junior we started to take him on college visits. His interests and DD's are very similar. She came along to most of the visits. At that time she was in 7th grade. She was very interested in many of the schools we visited at that time, one so much so that she said "you don't have to take me anywhere else. This is where I want to go to college". Now, four years later (she is a junior), she is very interested in a much different type of college. First, her interests have changed (and they likely will change again). While she still has many similar interests to her brother, she also has a totally different geographic preference, and a desire to be in more of a suburban/small city place. Her brother is on an urban campus. My point here is that your 12 year old could be exposed to a variety of colleges to get a viewpoint of what is out there, but don't be at all surprised if what he sees now is very different than what he "sees" as a high school junior. The best thing you can do (in my opinion) is to allow him grow into his how interests and passions. Looking at schools and trying to help him "choose" right now could be counterproductive to HIM finding areas that are of interest to him. I hate to see kids who are "marketed" to fit a school profile, instead of being allowed to grow and develop....and then find a school that fits the STUDENT's profile. I'm not saying that your are trying to market your youngster, please don't misunderstand me. What I am saying is let your child's interests determine the school, not vice versa.</p>

<p>The most important advice I can give is to do your best to allow your child to discover their strengths and interests, and to get experience in the things that they might be interested in.</p>

<p>It's very hard for high school seniors to select colleges if they have no clue what kind of environment makes them happy or if they have no clue about what kinds of subjects or vocations they might want to pursue in college and afterward. This doesn't mean that a kid needs to have firmly made up their mind about their future career. It does mean, though, that a kid should have some realistic idea about what kinds of academic subjects and social activities make them happy.</p>

<p>I think that it helps if one exposes a kid to a variety of environments. This can be done through travel or through things like summer programs. Without exposure, kids can have very unrealistic ideas about what kinds of places would make them happy. For instance, a kid who grows up in a rural area who never has spent time in a city may assume that they'd love life in a big city. If they go to a summer program in a big city or visit a big city, they may realize that they'd be happier in more of a suburban environment.</p>

<p>The more we give kids a chance to also develop and appreciate their own strengths and talents, the more tools we give them to eventually be able to find a college where they can flourish, and that also will be delighted to have them as a student.</p>

<p>Too many parents just assume that on their own kids will explore careers, will participate in ECs, will magically know whether they want to be in a large rah rah environment or a small, sheltered college environment. This isn't true. We parents have to encourage kids to try out a variety of things and to also notice which kinds of activities and environments make the kids happy.</p>

<p>My advice is to let your son find things that he likes. Encourage his interests, because in five years, it will be these interests that give him his "hook." On the flip side, don't push him into things that he doesn't want to do, and don't do everything with college in the back of your mind. Encourage him to do things exactly the way you would even if you knew he'd only go to State U. If he only does things to get into college, no one's gonna be very happy.</p>

<p>Don't put too much pressure on him. It's certainly fine to start looking at schools or mentioning them to him, but remember that it's HIS education. Like someone else said, is it his dream school, or yours? Will he get the feeling that if he doesn't get into Princeton, he'll have disappointed you? Keep these things in mind. I applaud your early planning and concern, but be careful of tipping over into the "living vicariously" territory. </p>

<p>Give him a chance to develop, and take his interests seriously. No matter what he does (as long as it's good, obviously), take an interest and behave like it's important to you, because it's important to him. If you push him, and give him to energy and time to become GOOD at something, then he'll be fine.</p>

<p>The way things have evolved for many "dream" schools is that the chances of getting in has become abysmal even for kids with "dream" stats. I see too many kids who have been raised with HPY on the radar screen who feel like failures and harbor a hurt in their hearts because they are only going to Amherst or any other school that is not blazoned on Mom or Dad's sweatshirts that they wear all the time. And Amherst is a top school. </p>

<p>At age 12, it is not possible to pick a dream school for the child. You are picking your dream school for the child. And if you keep the child culturally exposed and he has normal interactions with other college bound kids, he will find out about the exisitance of the lottery tickets schools with no help from you. No one needs to hyped about Harvard if he is kept aware of age appropriate information. But many adults need to do the research to find other lesser known schools with a more realistic selectivity that fit a specific person. Your child will need help in that area but until his interest and skill sets are more developed it is difficult to hone in on these schools. Several kids I know have found a niche at the College of Charleston from the North east and Midwest. An unlikely match without some time spent in doing research and keeping the options open. And some of these kids I knew when they were 12, 13 years old, and there was no way anyone could have come up with that as a college choice back then. </p>

<p>The posts here have been excellent in advice and philosophy in my opinion. I think it is wonderful that as you are homeschooling your child, you want to widen his horizons beyond the immediate environment for college possibilities, but to start a list of "dream" schools at this age can be premature. There is always the case of that kid who wanted to go to Harvard since age 4 who ends up there, but for each one there a hundreds who have to "settle" for less--I use the quotes because the "settle" would not have been the result had the college search process been done more personally.</p>


<p>Being a chinese math and scince was very much easy at home. But I realized in my life time that for being a manger you need more communication skills tahn being a math whiz. So wehn my kids took CTY in 7th grade and score let us say +1500, I told them that math will give them good jobs but that is all. That is when my kids desired about going to atend the different things. My kids got exposed to boys sout which opened their eyes and they joined politics and writing for newspaper etc. Fortunately for us we got good fin aid from prep schools and so they left home. Even though they have strong math and scince interest and regional rankings, they decided to pusrue writing and theter and music more than math and scince. My kids are so different than so many chinese as they think America is their home and have contributed let us say +200 hours ecah year in volunteer work. I am not sure that for them a college which offers them opportunities to soar and fly is more important than a college name sake. ANy way if you are home schooler and think, Boys scout or similar organizations are very imporatnt. Remember that active adult can contribute to socitety in many ways. So we all have stake in raising children who can cotribute to the socitety.</p>

<p>homeschoolmom posted a very interesting reply, including the story of Persi Diaconis, which I read about in 2001 in the book Mathematical People. I'm wondering particularly how one would verify the quotation attributed to Albert Einstein, as Einstein shares with Mark Twain the distinction of being a person to which many unverifiable quotations are atrributed. (I have a book about THAT at home, a book called The Quote Sleuth.) I would appreciate it if anyone reading the thread could verify--or deny--the plausible-sounding but unattributed Einstein quotation in homeschoolmom's message. I'll share here a genuine, verified Einstein quotation in a similar vein: </p>

<p>". . . . In [physics], however, I soon learned to scent out that which was able to lead to fundamentals and to turn aside from everything else, from the multitude of things which clutter up the mind and divert it from the essential. The hitch in this was, of course, the fact that one had to cram all this stuff into one's mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect [upon me] that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year. In justice I must add, moreover, that in Switzerland we had to suffer far less under such coercion, which smothers every truly scientific impulse, than is the case in many another locality. There were altogether only two examinations; aside from these, one could just about do as one pleased. This was especially the case if one had a friend, as did I, who attended the lectures regularly and who worked over their content conscientiously. This gave one freedom in the choice of pursuits until a few months before the examination, a freedom which I enjoyed to a great extent and have gladly taken into the bargain the bad conscience connected with it as by far the lesser evil. It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail." </p>

<p>The source of this quotation is the "Autobiographical Notes" section of Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, Paul Schilpp, ed. (1951), pp. 17-19 © 1951 by the Library of Living Philosophers, Inc., a book that was in our family living room all the years I was growing up (because of my dad's interest in the philosophy of science). </p>

<p>Thanks for sharing your thoughts.</p>

<p>I should reiterate that I was not quoting Einstein directly. I was quoting novelist Lloyd Alexander, who was in turn quoting Einstein. </p>

<p>It is Lloyd Alexander (a young adult fantasy author whose books have won Newbery honors) who has been a hugely wonderful influence in our family--along with an eclectic mix of other authors whose imagination and storytelling abilities have inspired us all: Martin Gardner, Isaac Asimov, Douglas Hofstadter, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, Roger Penrose, Richard Feynman, C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Homer, Edgar Allen Poe, Constance Reid, Marilyn Burns, Tove Jansson, Victor Hugo, Avi, Leo Tolstoy, Voltaire, Jared Diamond, Plato, Daniel and Jill Pinkwater, John Conway, Mark Twain, Donald Knuth, Roald Dahl, Stephen J. Gould, William Blake, Carl Sagan, A.A. Milne, Lewis Thomas, Walt Whitman,and many more that don't come to mind at the moment. [Edit: Just thought of two more remarkable authors: Lewis Carroll and Lewis Carroll Epstein. Former wrote the Alice books in 19th century; the latter wrote "Thinking Physics" in the 20th. Then too there's the author of Flatland...and oh, dear this could go on forever...]</p>

<p>All this reminds me of another wonderful quote that has resonated through our family for the past decade:</p>

<p>"It is impossible to be a mathematican without being a poet in soul... one has only to see what others do not see, to look deeper than others look" -- Sonya Kovalevskaya</p>

<p>I just was going to reply to some more replies in this "Planning WAY ahead" thread, when I started reading the "Moment of clarity?" thread </p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a> </p>

<p>on this same Parents Forum and saw how connected the issues are between that thread and this one. I'll read and digest that other thread, and then post more here.</p>