Duggar Family’s Homeschool Curriculum Questioned Again After Latest Social Media Posting

Jessa Duggar Seewald shares a video of what her family is teaching her son -- and viewers aren't so sure.

The Duggar family homeschools, but are they doing a good job of it?
Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images

Jessa Duggar Seewald shares a video of what her family is teaching her son -- and viewers aren't so sure.

One of the Duggar family’s primary claims to fame is that they homeschool all their children — something that may not seem like a simple task, considering that we’re talking about 19 kids. However, some viewers have questioned just how much work it is for the parents, since Michelle Duggar has talked about passing off some of the responsibility to her older children. Questions have also been raised about the curriculum, both for content and quality.

Part of the Duggar family’s curriculum comes from Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles. Gothard has been accused of sexually abusing young women himself, and a page of the curriculum published after Josh’s molestation police report became public shows that the curriculum teaches that victims invite abuse through clothing choices and behavior, and demands that they forgive their abuser.

However, the other major complaint the Duggar family’s critics have leveled is that they believe the curriculum is too low in level, and that it sets the kids up for academic failure. IBLP’s homeschool curriculum is through its subsidiary program, the Advanced Training Institute, which provides 54 ‘wisdom booklets,’ designed to be taught to all ages at once.

Topics to be taught from these include “How math assists in building Godly character,” Yielding rights in marriage,” “The four types of prayer,” and “Hidden dangers of a pluralistic society.” (A pluralistic society is one in which it is tolerated and accepted that other people have different beliefs.)

The Duggar family is advertising its homeschooling background as a reason to come to talks they’re giving on a tour this year.

The eldest of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar’s children, Josh, is the parent of the only school-aged Duggar grandchildren so far. His oldest three kids are aged 8, 6, and 5 years. His wife, Anna Duggar, is homeschooling them, following in the Duggar tradition.

None of his siblings has stated yet whether they’ll be homeschooling their kids, but a video posted by Jessa Duggar Seewald on Wednesday has viewers wondering how effective the schooling is.

One of the cousins must’ve been giving him lessons ????????????

A post shared by Jessa Seewald (@jessaseewald) on

While Jessa’s son, Spurgeon, is only 2-years-old and is doing an impressive job of rattling off the names of shapes that he’s been taught, viewers pointed out that whoever set up the lesson didn’t have the spelling mastered yet — or the shapes. All of the shapes names are spelled creatively, and letting spelling go uncorrected (because writing at all is more important than writing correctly, at first) is normal for lower grades.

However, viewers pointed out that the shape labeled as an octagon is actually a hexagon, and the shape labeled as a hexagon is a pentagon — and some queried why Jessa wouldn’t correct that as Spurgeon was learning. While this certainly won’t affect the Duggar grandson’s ability to learn the shapes correctly when he’s ready, viewers wondered who might have written this little lesson.

Since Jessa Duggar Seewald captions it to suggest that a “cousin” taught the lesson, it must be presumed she means Josh Duggar’s kids, since none of the other Duggar cousins are old enough (Jill Duggar Dillard’s son Israel is almost 3-years-old, and he’s the oldest other than Josh’s kids).

This suggests that Jessa is spending time with Josh Duggar’s family (something viewers have wondered about, as the third anniversary of his police report release approaches). According to some viewers, it also means that Anna Duggar needs to spend more time on shapes when teaching her kids.

Even Jessa’s brother-in-law, Jeremy Vuolo, husband of Jinger Duggar Vuolo, leveled a sly dig at the errors in the math lesson, noting that he only got the same answers for five of the seven shapes.

Whether it’s a failure of the Duggar family’ homeschooling curriculum or just a whiteboard drawing mishap, Spurgeon seems to be a quick learner who will pick the correct shapes up when presented with them. In the meantime, critics of the Duggar family see it as one more place where Gothard’s teachings have fallen short.