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Jill Duggar seems to be moving further away from her family’s beliefs. Recently, the mom of two and former Counting On star shocked fans when she announced that she had just enrolled her eldest son Israel in kindergarten. Jill was homeschooled by her mom Michelle, along with her other 18 siblings, so the move to a traditional school is a pretty big shift for her. (Her husband Derick Dillard attended public schools.) 

Jill didn’t offer any details on her decision to send her kids to school rather than teaching them at home. But she did hint that she — like many parents — has a little bit of anxiety about sending her little one off to school. 

Jill Duggar asks her followers for advice about sending her first kid to kindergarten 

The transition from staying at home to going to kindergarten is a big one for any family. And it’s possible that Jill will have some extra first-day jitters since she never went to school herself. The 28-year-old asked her followers to share their experience with sending their kids to school for the first time. 

“How did you feel when your first went off to kindergarten?” she asked. “Any tips? Drop them in the comments below!” 

Jill’s fans share supportive words 

On Instagram, many of Jill’s followers voiced support for her and Derick’s decision to send Israel to school. They also shared their advice for managing what can sometimes be a challenging milestone for both parents and kids.

One person suggested that Jill start working on getting her son used to his schooltime schedule weeks before he actually starts classes. “Start getting him a routine of waking up and being ready early at least 3 weeks before school starts,” they wrote. 

Jill Duggar
Jill Duggar | jillmdillard via Instagram

Another focused on lessons Jill can use at home to make sure he’s kindergarten-ready. “Read to him every night,” they wrote. “Give him as many pre-reading and math experiences as possible.”

There’s also the emotional aspect of saying goodbye to your firstborn at the schoolhouse door for the first time. “Bring tissues,” counseled one person. “I cried on the first day,” admitted another before adding that overall the kindergarten experience was a positive one. 

Of course, Jill had to deal with a few critics 

While most people had nothing but good things to say about Israel attending school, a few had more critical comments. Some seem confused by Jill and Derick’s choice, having assumed the couple would homeschool. Another slammed the couple, saying that attending public school wasn’t compatible with Christianity. 

“Indoctrination in the public schools… so much for raising a Christian,” the person wrote. 

“I can’t believe how many people on here think public school is amazing!” commented another. 

Despite a few naysayers, the entire Dillard family seems excited about Israel’s next big step — including Israel himself. In a video Jill shared to YouTube documenting the registration, the four-year-old (he’ll turn five in April) clearly demonstrated his excitement as he ran up to the doors of the school ahead of his parents and little brother.