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Keeping Twins Together or Separate in the Classroom… A Parent’s Dilemma

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By Christa D. Reed

The summer is flying by and here we are almost at the start of another school year.   It seems like as my fraternal twins get older, the years seem to fly by even faster and faster and I find myself questioning why time is so fleeting?  My twin boys will soon be starting their senior year in high school and only have one more “first-day” to go this year… To me, it feels like it was just yesterday when they went to their very 1st day of Kindergarten!

Sending your twins to school may seem like it is so far away when you are in the thick of diaper changes, feedings, potty training and toddler-hood.  Life with multiples is a whirl-wind at every stage and the “school-age” years arrive seemingly without warning!

We are lucky to live in an area where our school district allows parents to choose whether their twins will be together or separate in the classroom.  When my boys started Kindergarten, they were placed in separate classrooms that were right next door to each other. Separating the boys worked well for them and they adjusted quickly to their own respective classrooms and friends and also seemed to enjoy spending more time together after school and on the weekends, too.  My twins are completely different and one definitely excels more than the other academically and there are marked differences in their rate of retention, etc.

We placed them in separate classrooms in 1st and 2nd grade as well.  By having them in separate classes, I quickly realized that they had teachers that were very different and had completely different teaching styles.  It was much more of a challenge for me to keep on top of everything since often they were learning subjects at different times based on the teacher they had.

If your schedule allows, I highly recommend that you spend time at their school, volunteer and get to know the teachers at the school.  It makes it much easier for you as a parent to advocate for your children and to request a teacher that best matches each of your twins’ learning styles.  When you are familiar with the teachers and climate at the school, it is much easier for you to identify where your kids should be placed.

At the end of 2nd grade, I already had a good idea of which 3rd grade teacher I wanted for both of my boys and that just so happened to be the same teacher. For the first time since pre-school my twins were together again in the classroom for 3rd grade.  It worked well and was nice to have them doing the same homework at the same time and they both had successful years.  In 4th grade, I had just delivered my fourth son and felt like it would be much easier and better for our family (and my sanity) to keep them together again.  But, it was in 4th grade where I started noticing much more of a shift in peer perceptions and this is when fellow classmates started to compare my twins which made them both feel bad, especially when they would say to the twin that struggled more in school…”why aren’t you like your brother?” or “Why is your brother so much better than you in everything?” type of questions.  This really made my son feel bad about himself and I knew right then, the very best thing for my boys moving forward would be to make sure in the 5th grade they were in separate classrooms once again.  This was the best move for them and they both had a successful 5th grade year as well.

Now, after going through middle school and almost through high school, they have only been in one class together and that was their sophomore year when they were both in choir. Looking back, we believe that we did the right thing when our twins needed it.  Despite whether your school has a policy in place or not, don’t let anyone tell you what is best for YOUR children.  Keeping them together or separate is a choice best made by you!

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