ANDERSON — Wearing headphones and looking at a cellphone, Lily Ann Maynard doesn’t really pay much attention in computer classes at Anderson University.
The truth is, most of the discussion simply is over her head.
“It’s a little bit boring,” she said.
The 6-year-old attends classes with her mother, Stephanie Maynard, 29, a senior computer science major.
“I am so thankful I chose AU because everybody, whether it’s my professor or the other students has been so supportive. It’s been a good journey,” Maynard said. “They’re so accepting. They want to see me succeed.”
When she started college, her mother and grandmother helped take care of Lily Ann while she was in class. But for the past year, the home-schooled kindergartner has attended almost every class with her mom.
“She’s 6, and I have been at it for five years, so she doesn’t know much different,” Maynard said. “She’s already used to the environment. She gets to feel like she’s part of what I’m doing, and she loves to talk to the other students. Everybody is like, ‘We want her to graduate from here, too.’”
Of the 1.6 million children in the nation who are home-schooled, more than 38,000 are in Indiana, according to the state’s Department of Education. According to Homeschooling.com, that’s about 3.3%, higher than the national average estimated at about 2.56% in 2018, the latest year for which figures are available.
Inspired by her mother who ran a day care and was hands-on, Maynard said she always intended to home-school her children.
“That really carried me into my adulthood,” she said. “I had the structure and the discipline for myself, so I knew I could do it.”
Maynard initially enrolled in AU’s education program to give her a stronger background. But the program concentrated on teaching in public schools, which is very different from teaching children at home, she said.
“I realized that was not a direction I wanted to go,” she said. “The computer science major would give me the opportunity to pursue a career and have the flexibility to stay home with her. I think people sometimes think I’m crazy for trying to do it all. But it’s good for me. I have high goals for myself.”
Her husband, Daniel, who owns a seamless guttering company, also is able to set his schedule and have a role in Lily Ann’s education, Maynard said.
“It’s good for her to have both of us playing that role. We do it differently because we have different personalities,” she said.
Though many parents home-school for limited periods according to the needs of their children, Maynard, who graduates in May, said she plans to continue with Lily Ann through 12th grade.
“I like seeing her develop, and I like knowing I had a role in it, what she’s learning,” she said.
Home-schooling Lily Ann became more crucial, Maynard said, because her child has some vision issues, and she didn’t want her to fall behind because of them.
“I wanted to be hands-on with her education and give her the opportunity to succeed,” she said. “I can’t imagine her sitting still in a classroom for six hours a day.”
Graduation is bittersweet and will mark a change in Maynard and Lily Ann’s routine, which also includes going home to study every day after classes.
“It’s been such a big part of my life,” Maynard said.