The Duggars and the Bates started homeschooling in the early 90’s, about 10 years after the whole homeschooling movement really started to get off the ground. Our homeschooling forefathers had already put in years of legal work so that parents would not face persecution and find it necessary to hide during regular school hours in defense of their convictions. Parents and educators (from the very schools that we take great strides to avoid), put in countless hours of researching and writing to design curriculums that would assist parents who had no experience teaching, and that would work for a just a few students instead of many.
Both of these famous homeschooling families have parents who went to ‘regular school’. Michelle, Kelly and Gil all went to public school, and Jim Bob went to a Christian school. Yet, all four of them knew, when their very first children were approaching the school age, that they were not ready to give them up to the world. Jim Bob and Michelle had met another homeschool family that placed Christian values and relationships above all else, and what they saw had them convinced of that direction for their own family. Gil and Kelly were similar in that they wanted their morals and convictions to be the main course for their children’s education, and all other subjects relegated to being the dessert……..which is totally opposite of today’s society.
A lot of people start homeschooling for those reasons, whether their child is five or fifteen, never been to school or is about to enter high school. There comes a time in every parent’s life, when they realize that a child’s walk with Christ is more important than anything else we could ever teach them. A lot of highly educated people and uneducated people alike, would have a problem with me even thinking that way, let alone saying it out loud……but if you are homeschooling because you feel that God has called you to diligently instruct the blessings that He gave you, at morning and at night, while you’re walking and while you’re sitting……..then you get my drift :-). Numbers are useful, and everyone should learn to read, but most of those who can read Deuteronomy 6:6-9, will never use those their skills to actually look up that verse and read it……..let alone apply it.
So, what do people who are more about training their children for God, and less about teaching future brain surgeons use to teach their kids? On the other hand, is that to say that children who learn how to follow Christ and develop good character qualities, therefore cannot become a brain surgeon, or enter into some other field that takes a seriously developed brain? Of course not. It simply means that there is room in a child’s educational career for both spiritual development and academic development, something that the public schools and even a lot of the Christian schools today do not recognize or utilize. Alright, enough of the heavy, let’s dig in here and talk some schoolin’! (hee-hee that was for all of those scholars out there………are you rolling your eyes yet??)
Let’s puruse the shelves of two of the largest homeschooling families that we know! Below is a list of the curriculum’s, books and resources that the Duggar’s and the Bate’s use to teach all of those cuties:
WISDOM BOOKS: Both families use a curriculum written and published by IBLP, which stands for Institute for Basic Life Principle. IBLP sells this curriculum to families who are members of their homeschool organization, ATI, which stands for Advanced Training Institute. The curriculum comes in the form of Wisdom Books. You have to be an approved member of this group in order to be able to purchase the booklets.
Or, you can order a set on Ebay……..like I did! I was very interested in the booklets after hearing about them in the Duggars books, and seeing them on the show. So far, I like what I see, and nothing seems out of the ordinary (just a quick Google search on IBLP or ATI Wisdom Books will drum up quite a bit of debate on Bill Gothard and his teachings). I only use them for character training and Bible study, however, it is an almost complete curriculum. It has Bible, Science, Medicine, History, Math, Legal, and Greek teachings in each booklet. It is a bit too sporadic for my taste, as I like things chronologically ordered, so I know where I’m going. However, Michelle Duggar likes using them because she can teach all of her children, at one time, using the ‘Bus Stop Method’.
This technique is quite simple. All children, from those who are just starting out in school to your oldest child, sits and listens to mom teach the content of the subject. As the lesson intensifies in knowledge and skill, the mom then dismisses the younger ones, one by one, until she is finished with the most advanced material. She repeats each subject in the same manner. That way, all of her kids are learning about the same things, but just at different difficulty levels. This method was used in times gone by, when there was one teacher, one school room, but many students. Makes for simple planning!
My family is not members of this group, and our reasoning is not a huge deal. We are simply VERY loud and ungraceful people. Becoming ‘meek and quiet’ is something that we are working on, but we are not there yet. Also, several children from several different families live in our home at the present time, and that is not encouraged at ATI (for those of you who do not know, my family offers foster care to young children). At one point, my husband and I had seriously considered applying for membership, but after reading their criteria, we realized that we would probably not be a good fit to them.
For a lot of homeschooling families, it could be an awesome way to go. If you are considering it, read my post about the ins and outs of IBLP, ATI, membership requirements, etc. here: It is compiled of unbiased information, as I do not know any ATI families personally, nor have I ever actually applied to be a member. Or, you can visit their website is here: http://ati.iblp.org/ati/
CHARACTER SKETCHES: This three-volume set was sitting on the bookshelf behind Kelly Bates, while she was taping a segment of her show, ‘The United Bates of America’. I have the same set on my bookshelf, and they are excellent tools for teaching children character traits. Each ‘sketch’ is based on an animal in nature, and how we can learn from the characteristics that God gave to each creature. From family worship time, to learning about animals, there is no better way to teach children the qualities that God wishes of them. You can find them here: http://store.iblp.org/products/C123/
KEEPERS OF THE FAITH The Bates family has listed this as a great company that offers character based books. Here are their favorites:
• Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Diebler Rose – This is a must read about a missionary who is taken prisoner.
• Tiger and Tom and Other Stories for Boys – Short character based stories.
• The Kings Daughter and Other stories for Girls – short character based stories.
• The Miller Series – The whole set is great!
• The Mysterious Message – Children love these wholesome mysteries!
• Paula the Waldensian – A young girl’s faith and courage impact a whole town.
• Autobiography of George Mueller – This greatly challenged our faith when we first got married. It challenged us to not ask anyone for anything, but rather to trust God to meet our needs.
• On the Other Side of the Garden by Virginia Fugate – Wholesome advice for wives that want a happy marriage!
Find them here: http://www.keepersofthefaith.com/Welcome.do
TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ IN 100 EASY LESSONS, by Siegfried Engelmann. Michelle Duggar has used and still uses this book to teach her children how to read. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Your-Child-Read-Lessons/dp/0671631985
SING, SPELL, READ AND WRITE, by Pearson learning. Michelle said in her book, “It’s very simple, and my children and I love the fun little songs that helped teach them the thirty-six phonics rules.” You can find it here: http://www.christianbook.com/spell-read-write-preschool-home-study/9781567046687/pd/46681?item_code=WW&netp_id=215757&event=PPCSRC&view=details
PRESCHOOL PREP DVD’S The Bates family uses these DVD’s to teach their little ones the alphabet and numbers. You can find them here: http://www.preschoolprepco.com/
ACE – ACCELERATED CHRISTIAN EDUCATION The Duggars use this program in math, English and spelling for their first and second graders. The ACE curriculum website is here: http://www.aceministries.com/curriculum/?content=main
SWITCHED ON SCHOOLHOUSE, By Alpha Omega. These are used by all of the Duggar children from third grade through grade twelve. I, myself, am tempted to give these a try, because they seem very student-driven. When you have many to teach, it seems nice to have your older ones go to the computer, learn and complete their lessons on the computer, and then have them graded on that same computer. The Bates family also utilizes this system for their older ones. You can learn about all of the great courses that SOS has to offer here: http://www.aophomeschooling.com/Switched-On-Schoolhouse_overview
TEACHING TEXBOOKS Kelly Bates uses this for math. I have several friends who also use this program for higher maths, such as Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Calculus. Read more about these books here: http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/
A BEKA We saw Kelly Bates on her show, fluttering all over her house, teaching the children from A beka workbooks. I am not sure what subjects that she teaches from these, or exactly what she uses, but she does utilize the A beka readers and workbooks. You can see what A beka has to offer here: http://www.abeka.com/HomeSchool/
For resources that are listed on the Duggar’s website, go here: http://duggarfamily.com/
For resources that are listed on the Bates’ website, go here: http://thebatesfamily.com/resources/