There are a lot of things to discuss about the Duggar family on TLC's 19 Kids & Counting — most notably their courtship rules — but what about the ins and outs of how the children are homeschooled? Because really, when we're not focusing on Jill or Jessa's blooming relationships, we should probably be looking at how Michelle and Jim Bob shape their children into the people that they are today. Why? Because there are so damn many of them.
Considering they have enough children (and grandchildren) to form their own school, Michelle must have a few tricks up her sleeve when it comes to educating all of those impressionable and growing minds. She's basically the principal, teacher, and cafeteria lady all rolled into one superhuman mom who is somehow able to make sure her children get a good education (hopefully).
So what do they teach over at The Duggar Private School? Do they study science? Is it the kind of science we're used to? Do they have P.E.? Does Michelle have a whistle for P.E.? Do they have to watch "the birds and the bees" video? Or do the kids just think that birds and bees are creatures that fly outside their windows?
Well, we might not have answers to all of those questions, but thanks to Michelle's TLC blog, here's some of what we do know about how the Duggars handle homeschooling:
1. They chose homeschooling because they wanted to create a family unity.
We knew some families that had older children that were homeschooled. We were so impressed with their families...Jim Bob and I thought, “That’s what we want. That is the fruit we want to see in our children and that oneness in our family.”
2. It's a Christian-based curriculum focused on character qualities.
Besides regular subjects like Math and English, the Duggars focus on character building like responsibility, honesty, and self-control. (But don't forget some of the other awesome traits on the chart: boldness, persuasiveness, meekness, and thriftiness.)
3. They study scripture and hymns.
Around lunch time, the Duggars sit around the table and memorize scripture and hymns. It's one of Michelle's favorite times of the day.
4. They use "the bus stop method."
After "memory lane" we’ll do book work, which is our science, history, law, and medicine resources. A lot of times we’re all studying the same information -- just reading it together, so we’re all on the same page. Then the kids break and do resources for each grade level. It's called "the bus stop method," where my little ones get off a little sooner and the bigger ones keep working. They’ll go to their separate desk areas where they can work on their projects individually.
5. They still have to take standardized tests.
Taking standardized tests is just one of the ways that the state of Arkansas is able to monitor students that are homeschooled.
6. They go on field trips.
From tours of an eye clinic to their favorite field trip to Washington, D.C., the Duggars know that the best classroom is "the classroom of life."
7. They have graduation parties.
In honor of all they've achieved, the Duggars like to throw their graduates their own special celebration. (Although, we'd really like to see a Duggar prom.)
8. They talk about the birds and the bees... kind of.
We're not clear on whether or not they're actually taught about the technicalities of sex, but they definitely talk about changing bodies and feelings.
For the girls:
We also talk about the boy/girl feelings that come along with this season of life and how that is a special time and you want to guard your heart to make sure that you are keeping your affections where they need to be and not giving away parts of your heart by emotionally getting attached to individuals, because your future spouse will be the one who you want to give all of those things to.
For the boys:
With the boys, my husband, Jim Bob, usually will talk with them. There are so many changes going on in their bodies and minds as well, and it helps them to know this is normal; you're not weird; you're not strange and that all young men go through this, and that this is a good thing.
9. And finally, it looks like they study the kind of science we'd expect them to.
Images: DCL/TLC (2); The Duggar Family; DCL/TLC (3)