Meet the Bates Family - All 20 of Them


Kelly home schools her children. She teaches classes for the younger ones, and the older children study on the computer.

"As our family increased, technology has, and we have school on video, we have science and history on video, we have it on computer now. So, a lot of my work is done for me, which is a real blessing," said Kelly Bates.

When asked if she thinks her children get a good education, Kelly Bates replied, "Yes, I do. In fact, Zach, Michael and Erin have been full-time students in college and all three of them ended this past semester with 4.0s."

Even the college-age children live at home. This bedroom sleeps eight of the ten sisters, from age 20 down to 16-month-old Callie.

"They like it that way. We gave them the choice when we were designing it. We thought, now is your chance," said Kelly Bates. "Cause they'd all been squeezed together for so long, we said now is your chance. You can have your own space if you want it. And they all just unanimously…"

"Almost cried and said, 'Please don't make us go in different rooms,'" added Gil Bates.

"Please don't make us separate! We want to be together," said Kelly Bates.

When asked if they have any privacy, one girl responded, "Well, we do have privacy if we want it, but for the most part, it's like our way of life so we don't mind all of the loud noise."

The house is equipped with an intercom and camera system to keep track of where everyone is.

"I can look and see what's going on in the living room, in the front yard, on the side of the house. When I'm up here, I can tell if kids are sneaking cookies or getting into trouble," said Kelly Bates.

But this high-tech house has no televisions and the computers are only for studying. Instead of watching TV, texting or surfing the internet, the children spend a lot of time practicing musical instruments. They are all musically talented and most of them play more than one instrument, from piano to guitar to violin.

When asked if they felt they were too sheltered, one boy replied, "We do so much stuff. I think we do more than some other people."

Another boy said, "We probably have more opportunities to get out than most."

Kelly is 44, but she hopes to have two more boys for a total of 10 boys and 10 girls.

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