In my younger days I heard about night-time adult education courses offered by my High School (Pioneer High School, Ann Arbor). I also remembered a test I was given back in ninth grade at Tappan Jr. High for aptitude in algebra. I didn't understand this small test at the time but it stuck with me. So I signed up for algebra. When I learned how to solve for one unknown my brain fell out. At least those around me thought so. To shorten this story up, I've taken various math courses at my local community college (Washtenaw Community Collage) over the years but have not been able to get it together for any sort of degree. I'm now 53 and recently discovered I have A.D.D. which explains some of my learning disability.
In the early seventies I would go to the math department at the University of Michigan and bug the professors who are busy people. Professor Storer took a liking to me and would spend some time with me. He told me that he practiced his guitar every Saturday and I could put whatever I wanted on the chalk board and he would comment on it while practicing. So every Saturday I would fill the board from one end to the other. He would tell me, "Well, so-and-so came up that in thus-and-so year while you were just a dot on a drawing board!" It took me a long time to learn that if I could think of it, then it had already been discovered long ago. Its just my approach that might be different.