Even though the Duggar family has earned a pretty nice living by opening their home to TV viewers over the past decade, there has been the downside of being the target of endless criticism. And now that most of the older, married Duggar kids are starring in the TLC series Counting On, that criticism has mostly taken the form of judgment over their parenting choices.
That has certainly been the case for Jill Duggar – even though she is no longer involved in the show – and she is currently under fire because of her family’s approach to education.
This past weekend, Jill celebrated Mother’s Day by praising her mom, Michelle, and her mother-in-law on the Dillard Family Website, but her support of her mother’s homeschool philosophy has fans worried that she will continue the tradition with her sons, Israel and Samuel.
In her Mother’s Day message, Jill thanked her “encouraging, loving, caring, and inspiring” mother and mother-in-law and called them great role models. She also wrote that becoming a mom herself has left her in awe of the fact that Michelle managed to raise 19 children. She said that she has learned a lot from her mom’s example and is always looking for more wisdom.
One specific way that Jill hopes to follow in her mother’s footsteps is to homeschool her boys as her mother homeschooled her. The 26-year-old explained that she has started looking at different homeschooling curriculums, and that has reminded her of all the fun things her mom did.
Homeschooling has become a popular choice for American families. But, the problem with the Duggars is that the curriculum they follow has some questionable educational elements. Back in 2010, Michelle said that her family uses the Christian-based ACE curriculum (Accelerated Christian Education) that focuses on building character traits like responsibility, honesty, and self-control.
But, in addition to ACE, the family has also used a program from ATI (Advanced Training Institute), and that has led to a lot of backlash because of its teachings. None of the members of the conservative family have commented on whether or not they use the curriculum, which teaches reading, writing, and math from a fundamentalist Christian perspective, but Michelle and her husband, Jim Bob, did speak at the ATI Family Conference in 2015.
Former ATI students say that the program’s teachings form an ideological system of practices based on extremely strict, fundamentalist Biblical interpretations. And, according to Romper, there is also an emphasis on controlling every aspect of a woman’s physical appearance and lifestyle.
To be fair, Jill has not made any indication that she intends to use the ATI program, and there are many other Christian homeschooling curriculums available. It is impossible to know what direction Jill plans to take when it comes to teaching her kids.
But, given that the family has been outspoken advocates of homeschooling, and there is a link between them and a highly criticized program, it isn’t much of a shock that some Duggar fans are questioning Jill Duggar’s choices.