I believe what happened is that Mrs. Duggar was on the birth control pill and had complications concieving afterwards, and because of this she and her husbands decided not to use birth control. There's more to it than just that, there's religious reasons as well...
There are 17 children and they all have names that begin with the letter J. All the children are homeschooled by their mother, and every child can play the piano and violin. Their lessons are actually very interesting. She'll teach them about space let's say one day, and she'll do an overview, and the older children will talk about what they've learned, and then each child will do some reading/ break into age groups and do some more focused studying. Each child has a "buddy"- meaning the older children are paired up with a younger sibling that helps them with their lessons, getting ready in the morning, etc. Because of this, the mother does give one on one attention to each child everyday, and the younger children get more individualized attention from an older sibling.
They have a very very organized life. They have matching outfits for the day, all the girls wear skirts, and the girls have white socks and the boys have black socks. Each child has their own chores to do, but it's not that bad because there are so many of them. There is a bulliten board that has what each child hopes to accomplish that day (in terms of goals).
On one day of the week, the mother and the girls do the cooking for the majority of the week and freeze it. They eat a very good balanced diet.
At night they read bible verses as a family.
- socialization: on the bright side, there is 17 of them so it's not like it's an only child being homeschooled, but I personally feel that they should play sports or something so they can get to know other children their own age. I know they have church services in their home, and maybe 5 other families come and hang around for the rest of the day.....but I think that's it.
- schedule: strict schedules are great and wonderful and work if the variables are right, but if you have children that are going off to college- even very strict colleges- I think they will have a hard time adjusting.
-mother's health: I worry about Michelle (Mrs. Duggar) the most. Usually you have to watch for uterine prolapse after the 5th child....and she's had 17, and only the last set of twins I believe were born via C-Section. That's a lot for any muscle in your body to go through, and I'm just nervous that her uterus will get tired....especially since she's now 40.