Homeschooled Jill Duggar smiles proudly as she sends her son off to his first day of public school

Jill Duggar’s oldest son Israel starts kindergarten today, after the whole family went shopping for new school supplies last week.

Jill, 29, and her husband Derick Dillard, 31, enrolled the five-year-old in kindergarten in the same Arkansas school district where Derick was educated years ago — but sending her kid to public school is a big step for Jill, who was homeschooled with a religious curriculum along with her 18 siblings.

In a video uploaded to YouTube last week, Jill appeared excited to get her son ready for kindergarten, encouraging him to read what they needed from a list of supplies while pushing him and younger brother Samuel, three, in a shopping cart.

Big boy time: Jill Duggar's oldest son Israel starts kindergarten today

Big boy time: Jill Duggar’s oldest son Israel starts kindergarten today

Freakin' out! The little boy seemed thrilled to get ready for his first day

He showed off his new backpack

Freakin’ out! The little boy seemed thrilled to get ready for his first day and show off his new backpack

Proud dad: Derick is also starting his final year of law school today

Proud dad: Derick is also starting his final year of law school today

Off they go! The whole family went with Israel to drop him off at the school - and all four of them donned face masks per the school's new regulations

Off they go! The whole family went with Israel to drop him off at the school – and all four of them donned face masks per the school’s new regulations 

Israel’s school district was originally scheduled to start earlier this month, but the first day was pushed back due to the pandemic.

With in-person classes starting today, the district is ‘follow[ing] the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) guidelines and the Arkansas Ready for Learning report issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’ and requiring face coverings ‘when physical distancing of six feet is not possible.’

Breaks from wearing face coverings, when students can be spaced apart, will occur throughout the day.

The safety requirement doesn’t appear to be an issue for the Dillard family, who have shared photos and videos while complying with mask recommendations in public. 

This morning, Jill shared several pictures of her son posing with his new backpack, and she, Derick, and Samuel all went with Israel to drop him off on his first day of school.

Samuel and Derick also posed for a special first-day-of-school photo, as Derick begins his final year of law school.

Shopping trip: Last week, the family-of-four went back-to-school shopping, buying supplies off Israel's official kindergarten class list

Shopping trip: Last week, the family-of-four went back-to-school shopping, buying supplies off Israel’s official kindergarten class list

Involved: In a video uploaded to YouTube last week, Jill appeared excited to get her son ready for kindergarten, encouraging him to read what they needed from a list of supplies

Involved: In a video uploaded to YouTube last week, Jill appeared excited to get her son ready for kindergarten, encouraging him to read what they needed from a list of supplies

Safety first: The group all wore masks to Walmart for the supplies on Israel's list, and also got construction paper for Samuel's pre-K at home with Jill

Safety first: The group all wore masks to Walmart for the supplies on Israel’s list, and also got construction paper for Samuel’s pre-K at home with Jill

‘Happy first day of school for these two!’ Jill wrote. 

All four also wore masks last week when they took a family trip to Walmart to shop for school supplies.

At the store, Israel was put in charge of the official list of school supplies and, with encouragement from his parents, went down the list finding what they needed.

They walked through the aisles, picking out crayons, pencils, composition notebooks, dry erase markers, glue sticks, tissues, and hand sanitizer while Israel crossed each item off on the list.

Samuel, meanwhile, got a package of colored construction paper for pre-K at home with mom. 

On Instagram, Jill said that back-to-school shopping was ‘was so much fun to do together.’ 

She also wrote about how school is looking quite different for many people this year. 

The rules: Israel's list included hand sanitizer and tissues. His school is mandating masks when social distancing isn't possible

The rules: Israel’s list included hand sanitizer and tissues. His school is mandating masks when social distancing isn’t possible

Smart: At the store, Israel was put in charge of the official list of school supplies and, with encouragement from his parents, went down the list finding what they needed

Smart: At the store, Israel was put in charge of the official list of school supplies and, with encouragement from his parents, went down the list finding what they needed

So pumped! He couldn't contain his excitement as dad Derick filled his backpack

So pumped! He couldn’t contain his excitement as dad Derick filled his backpack

‘I know with the pandemic things are looking a lot different than everyone thought they would going into this school year,’ she said. 

‘Our schools are starting back soon and students have the option for in person/blended classes or totally virtual. Those who choose the in person option may end up at home eventually (the blended part) if things with the virus escalate depending on the school.

‘Also, shoutout to all the teachers doing so much to keep us safe, yet provide a fun learning environment for our kids! We are so grateful!’

Jill’s enthusiasm for her son’s public school education may have taken some time to come by, since Jill herself received just a few hours of homeschooling a day from her mother. 

In an interview with the Christian homeschool curriculum publisher AOP, Jill’s mother Michelle said her kids spent just four hours homeschooling in ‘core subjects’ while growing up, with additional time spent on music lessons.

Ready to learn! Jill and Derick registered Israel for classes back in February

Ready to learn! Jill and Derick registered Israel for classes back in February

Out in the world: They said the little boy was 'so excited' to head to school and make new friends

Out in the world: They said the little boy was ‘so excited’ to head to school and make new friends

Bracing herself: Jill shared the news on Instagram, surprising followers who know that she and her siblings were all homeschooled

Bracing herself: Jill shared the news on Instagram, surprising followers who know that she and her siblings were all homeschooled

The value of an education: Derick attended public school — in the same district — and went on to get a college degree

The value of an education: Derick attended public school — in the same district — and went on to get a college degree

They followed a Christian curriculum from The Institute in Basic Life Principles called Advanced Training Institute International, which is described as a ‘biblically based’ program. 

With Michelle, the older kids would cover topics like ‘science, history, law, or medicine,’ but would also ‘memorize Scripture, learn hymns, and study godly character qualities.’ 

But with 19 kids of varying ages, Michelle couldn’t possibly teach them all — so older kids were responsible for teaching the younger ones. 

‘We’ve adopted the biblical Titus 2 organizational principles of older children teaching the younger,’ she said. ‘Working within an assigned buddy system, each of our older children assists in helping with the needs of a younger sibling.’ 

So while Jill, as one of the oldest siblings, likely spent her early years learning directly from mom, as she grew older she was expected to teach — and many of her younger siblings were predominantly taught by her, Jessa, Jana, and the other oldest kids.

Derick, meanwhile, attended public school himself before getting an accounting degree at Oklahoma State University.

'He was just talking with a friend the other day telling them about his new school," Jill gushed to commenters. 'He's looking forward to it for sure!'

‘He was just talking with a friend the other day telling them about his new school,” Jill gushed to commenters. ‘He’s looking forward to it for sure!’

For the best: Most of Jill's siblings have followed their parents' strict teachings into adulthood, but Jill is taking a different path with Israel and Samuel, two

For the best: Most of Jill’s siblings have followed their parents’ strict teachings into adulthood, but Jill is taking a different path with Israel and Samuel, two 

Her own way: Jill grew up in an uber-strict household but seems to be departing from some of her parents teachings since marrying Derick Dillard

Her own way: Jill grew up in an uber-strict household but seems to be departing from some of her parents teachings since marrying Derick Dillard

He was also active on campus, dressing up as the school mascot, joining the honor society Beta Alpha Psi, and playing in the marching and spirit bands. Now he is perusing a law degree at The School of Law at the University of Arkansas.   

Both parents shared their excitement over Israel’s education back in February, when they officially registered him for kindergarten. 

‘Look who’s registered for kindergarten!’ Jill wrote on Instagram, later adding in a comment: ‘He’s so excited!’ 

‘He was just talking with a friend the other day telling them about his new school,” Jill gushed to commenters. ‘He’s looking forward to it for sure!’

Taking to the family blog, Jill went on: ‘We have already been homeschooling him some, but decided it would be fun to let him go to kindergarten this year. 

‘It’s extra special because it’s the same school district Derick enrolled in over 25 years ago,’ she added, uploading a video showing the family at registration.

Derick was also quite excited, writing: ‘Proud moment as Israel got registered for kindergarten this week.’ 

Jill’s acquiescence in following her husband’s example and sending Israel to public school makes her the first of her siblings to do so.

Hands full: Jill's mom Michelle (pictured with husband Jim Bob) homeschooled the kids, but passed a lot of the teaching duties onto the older siblings like Jill

Hands full: Jill’s mom Michelle (pictured with husband Jim Bob) homeschooled the kids, but passed a lot of the teaching duties onto the older siblings like Jill 

Passing the buck: Michelle, who has only a high school education, taught her oldest kids when they were younger — but then had them pass those skills onto the youngest siblings

Passing the buck: Michelle, who has only a high school education, taught her oldest kids when they were younger — but then had them pass those skills onto the youngest siblings

Jill’s oldest brother, sex pest Josh, has six kids with his wife Anna. Ten-year-old Mackynzie, nine-year-old Michael, and seven-year-old Marcus are all already school age, but are homeschooled by their mom.

Meanwhile, Jill’s sister Jessa and her husband Ben Seewald haven’t said definitively whether or not they will homeschool four-year-old Spurgeon, three-year-old Henry, or one-year-old Ivy. 

The other children are also still too young for school: Joy Anna and Austin Forsyth’s two-year-old son Gideon, Jinger and Jeremy Vuolo’s two-year-old daughter Felicity, Joe and Kendra’s two-year-old son Garrett nine-month-old daughter Addison, Josiah and Lauren’s nine-month-old daughter Bella, and John David and Abbie’s eight-month-old daughter Grace.

Duggar-watchers have speculated that most will follow Jim Bob and Michelle’s example, perhaps with the exception of Jinger and Jeremy. Like Derick, Jeremy also attended public school and has a degree. 

But Jill has set a precedent for breaking with her parents’ super-strict teachings.

Though she is a stay-at-home mother, she has only had two kids, with her youngest already two-and-a-half. (Most of her siblings, meanwhile, have had more babies in quick succession.) 

Following in those footsteps: Sex pest Josh has six kids with his wife Anna, who is sticking to homeschooling

Following in those footsteps: Sex pest Josh has six kids with his wife Anna, who is sticking to homeschooling

Teacher: Jessa's three children are still too young for school, but Duggar-watchers assume she will homeschool as well

Teacher: Jessa’s three children are still too young for school, but Duggar-watchers assume she will homeschool as well 

Derick had indicated on Instagram that they may use birth control, something that Jill’s parents have preached against. 

She is also more lax on modesty standards when it comes to clothes, wearing pants and even denim shorts. Nearly all of the other Duggar women — except Jinger —exclusively wear dresses and skirts.

Jill also has a nose ring, and recently cut her hair to a few inches longer than shoulder length — remarkably short for Duggar women, who subscribe to the idea that a woman’s hair is her crowning glory and should be long. 

What’s more, Jill has spoken openly about sex in a way that is a major departure for her family. Though she and Derick waited until their wedding day to share their first kids — and, naturally, everything else — Jill now promotes sex games and books on social media, sharing pictures of an abridged version of the Kama Sutra and encouraging married couples to ‘have sex often.’  

All of these factors unfortunately may have contributed to a rift in the family, especially in regards to the iron fist of patriarch Jim Bob.

According to several comments made by Derick, Jim Bob restricts his daughter’s access to the family home and most of her siblings. 

‘Because our visitation to the Duggar house has been restricted and that is where they and their spouses hang out, we have not been able to see other family as much as we would like, so that is difficult,’ he told The Sun. 

Daddy dictator? Jill seems to be departing from her parents' teachings in quite a few ways, and her father seems to be punishing her for it

Daddy dictator? Jill seems to be departing from her parents’ teachings in quite a few ways, and her father seems to be punishing her for it

‘We do try to invite brothers and sisters-in-law over as much as they can come.’

We hope and pray God would restore relationships where there is brokenness. But, at the same time, we recognize that only God can change people’s hearts and bring healing,’ he added.

Then, in July, he went on a commenting spree on Instagram, spilled the beans on more details of the family feud.

Several viewers noted that when TLC cancelled 19 Kids and Counting and replaced it with Counting On following sex pest Josh’s dual sex scandals, the ‘new’ series was supposed to follow the younger generation — meaning that parents Jim Bob and Michelle, 53, would be largely absent.

That hasn’t been the case, though, and both are featured heavily in Counting On — leading to a question from a viewer who asked why Jim Bob was still on the show.

‘That’s because it’s still under his control. And he will attack the victims if they threaten his show,’ Derick replied, referring to the victims of oldest brother Josh, 32.

In 2015, Jill famously came out as one of Josh’s molestation victims. When he was a teenager, he admitted to touching the chest area and genitals of four of his younger sisters, as well as a family friend, and was subsequently sent away from counseling — though the seedy family history was buried until 2015, when inTouch unearthed an old police report.

Jill and Jessa both came forward as two of Josh’s victims, submitting to an interview with Megyn Kelly on Fox News in which they defended their big brother.

Threatened: Derick has revealed some details of the rift, and said that Jill's father Jim Bob 'will attack the victims' of sex pest Josh 'if they threaten his show'

Threatened: Derick has revealed some details of the rift, and said that Jill’s father Jim Bob ‘will attack the victims’ of sex pest Josh ‘if they threaten his show’

Damning: Derick even compared Jim Bob to Jeffrey Epstein, saying that the latter 'showed us that if you have enough money, power, and influence, you can get away with anything'

Damning: Derick even compared Jim Bob to Jeffrey Epstein, saying that the latter ‘showed us that if you have enough money, power, and influence, you can get away with anything’

And Derick has implied that Jill has had little choice in appearing on camera. 

‘We were humiliated and threatened when we first tried to not film,’ he added/ ‘Now it’s not dependent on us anymore to keep the show going because more kids got married, so it’s more OK if we quit.’ 

‘We have to break this culture, that cares more about money and ratings than protecting the most vulnerable,’ he added. 

‘Jeff Epstein already showed us that if you have enough money, power, and influence, you can get away with anything. Sadly, it doesn’t stop with him. There are many more stories in this world that are not too different, existing in a culture where it can still thrive.’

When another viewer ranted about Josh molesting his younger sisters, Derick replied with snark that he didn’t ‘understand why 19k&c was cancelled’ — implying that TLC simply brought the same show back under a different name.

‘[They] cancelled it to be politically correct, but then brought it back because the money was too good,’ he said. ‘Money/ratings trump political correctness, which trumps losing money. Also show in this diagram: money/ratings > political correctness >losing money.’

When a commenter responded asking where ‘being Jesus followers or good parents land on that diagram,’ Derick said: ‘Not very high, apparently.’ 

Derick also reiterated claims that he and Jill were never paid for appearing on Counting On, and that ‘they begged us to come back’ when he and Jill quit filming.

Though they aren’t on the show anymore, he said, ‘we’ve lived it and it’s aweful [sic].’

Among Derick’s other revelations were that he doesn’t have issues with the rest of Jill’s family — ‘just the “boss” — and that Jim Bob tried to get him to sign an NDA last year.’

Though Jim Bob appears to have set up restrictions to punish Jill and Derick, Jill’s abuser is still welcomed in the family with open arms and frequently appears at family events.

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