The Duggar family isn't gaining a new member. There have long been rumors that John David Duggar, Jim Bob and Michelle's second-oldest son, was interested in courting Duggar family friend Tabitha Paine. This is because Tabitha has been spotted out and about with the Duggars on multiple occasions. However, there's a different reason Tabitha is spending so much time with the Duggar family.
The Duggar Family News: Life Is Not All Pickles and Hairspray Facebook page recently shared a screenshot from the Paine Family website, and it shows Tabitha Paine's answer to a question from a fan of the Duggar family. The fan asked if 30-year-old Tabitha was courting 25-year-old John David, and Tabitha responded by saying that she's not spending so much time with the Duggar family because she's in a relationship with John David -- instead, she's working as the family's live-in tutor.
"I have been a live-in tutor to the Duggar children for the past year," Tabitha wrote. "Because we don't do school 24/7 I am able to join in with the family's work, and fun activities during the weekends and evenings. Hence, the reason why you may see so many pictures! But, I am in no such relationship. I may just be single for the rest of my life."
As the Inquisitr previously reported, the courtship rumors started back in January when Tabitha made an appearance in one of Jessa Duggar Seewald's Instagram photos.
Tabitha Paine comes from a strict religious family much like the Duggars. She's the oldest of 10 children, and, much like oldest Duggar daughter Jana (John David's twin), she's stood aside and watched while her younger siblings get married and have children. Her younger brother, Chad, is married to Bringing Up Bates star Erin Bates Paine, another friend of the Duggar family.
Tabitha Paine likely moved in with the Duggar family because Michelle Duggar recently lost two of her homeschool helpers. Some fans of the family might assume that Michelle teaches all of her children, but this simply isn't the case -- she heavily relies on her older children for help. Unfortunately for the mom of 19, daughters Jill and Jessa Duggar are now married with children of their own to take care of.
During an interview with LovetoKnow, Michelle Duggar revealed that she started feeling like an "inadequate" teacher, so the stay-at-home mom tasked her older kids with teaching her younger kids. She loved the results this produced, and she bribed her older kids with treats so they wouldn't feel like they were being used.
"I finally realized having these older ones, the good thing for them is they could mentor the younger ones with stuff they've already mastered," Michelle revealed.
"I encouraged the older ones, 'You're the fastest math drill one I know. You could really encourage Jason, who is just beginning. I'll give you flash cards and you guys sit over here 30 minutes after lunch and do flash cards and I'll give you both a treat when you're done.'"Michelle Duggar also encouraged her kids by rewarding them with one-on-one time with mom. This might not seem like much of a reward to most children, but you have to remember that the Duggar family has 19 kids -- it's probably pretty rare for Michelle to be alone with one child for an extended period of time.
Michelle lost a very important helper when Jessa Duggar got married and moved out. The Duggar family matriarch described Jessa as her family's school "administrator."
"We have an in-house system, because we are like a school with the number of students we have. Jessa is the administrator. She keeps up with all that. They have to make a certain grade before they move forward. If they don't, she will reassign and do it again."Perhaps Tabitha Paine is filling Jessa's role now.
Having a non-family member work as a live-in teacher hasn't stopped Michelle Duggar from pursuing gigs speaking at homeschool conferences. As the Inquisitr previously reported, Jim Bob and Michelle were scheduled to appear at the 2016 Alberta Home Education Convention next April. However, the Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) faced a huge backlash from Duggar family critics who believed that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were poor choices for speakers. This is because the parents' oldest son, Josh Duggar, sexually molested four of his younger sisters and another girl when he was a teenager.
The AHEA president responded to critics by saying that Jim Bob and Michelle did nothing wrong, but police reports indicate otherwise -- the parents put members of their family at risk by failing to appropriately react to the sexual abuse going on under their own roof, and Josh took advantage of their failure to act. His behavior worsened, and the Duggars didn't get serious about doing anything until he molested his then-five-year-old sister.
According to Buzzfeed, the AHEA decided to cancel the Duggars' appearance after hearing feedback from critics of the family.
There's been speculation that the religious homeschool program that the Duggar family uses may have played some part in Josh's behavior and how the sexual molestation in the Duggar household was dealt with. The Duggars are followers of the Institute of Basic Life Principles, a religious organization founded by Bill Gothard, and they include the IBLP's Advanced Training Institute (ATI) materials as part of their homeschool curriculum. According to Gawker, one ATI handout about sexual abuse actually implies that victims can be partially to blame for their abuse if they dress immodestly or spend time with "evil" friends.
The Duggar family's homeschooling program isn't just causing controversy because of its troublesome teachings. According to the Chicago Tribune, five women recently filed a civil lawsuit against the Institute of Basic Life Principles. They alleged that the organization covered up the sexual abuse and harassment of young women for decades. One of the defendants named in the lawsuit is Tabitha Paine's father, IBLP board of directors member Stephen Paine. His fellow board member, Bringing Up Bates patriarch Gil Bates, is also named in the suit.
Are you surprised that the Duggar family is still sticking with homeschooling in the midst of all this controversy?
[Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images]