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Separate?

Ah, the age-old school-aged question that faces every twin mom. Do I separate my kids in Kindergarten or keep them together? I’ve been back and forth so many times, I’ve lost count. And I have good arguments for both sides. (I have selfish ones as well 😉 )

I was talking with the principal and vice principal of their new school today…asking what they “normally” do with twins. Their initial response was to separate them – not knowing that they’re boy/girl twins…but that didn’t seem to matter. I’m supposed to send a note into school with what we want, so I figured I’d try to work through it here. 🙂

I think if they were both boys or both girls, I’d be inclined to say “Separate!” with no hesitation. (I think.) However, I don’t see that they’ll be compared as much or be in quite the same competition since they’re one of each. (I could be totally wrong about that though.) Plus, I’ve already seen in preschool that they have their own go-to friends, so I don’t have to worry about that. However, I’ve also seen that they most often sit together at lunch and at snack…I don’t know if they’d have that chance if they were in separate classes (something to ask, I guess).

My “selfish” reasons for keeping them together: One teacher to deal with instead of two (because you know I’ll be in there asking questions 😉 ). One homework assignment or project to deal with instead of two (although, this could be a flip argument – more on that later). I can ask Maggie about Burke’s day and Burke about Maggie’s day (even if that’s not entirely fair…). When their birthday comes around, if they ask for a big party, it’s ONE class to invite and not two (or even one party and not two).

Non-selfish reasons: It’s a new school and together might make that transition easier (except, if they weren’t twins, they wouldn’t have that crutch…). They might LIKE to be in the same class (perhaps I should ask them).

Reasons for separating them: They wouldn’t ever be compared and that competition thing wouldn’t be there (although what usually ends up happening is Burke competes and Maggie has no idea he’s doing so…). They’d have separate assignments and projects so there’d be no copying and I’d be able to tell where each has their own strengths and weaknesses (I already have a pretty good idea of those, but I know things change).

Comments? Suggestions? Ideas?

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5 Responses

  1. My only comment is on the separate assignments thing. I worked at an elementary school up until I had the twins. There were three kindergarten classrooms and there was a BIG overlap on assignments. They use almost identical curriculum so there is a very good chance that on a given night, the kids are working on the same thing. They may be off by a day or two on other things and then there are some things that are classroom specific. It might be a good question to ask the kindergarten teachers at your school – how much of the work is identical (same worksheets/projects/themes/etc.).

  2. Tough one!
    We are separating our two this year for pre-school and strongly suspect we’ll keep it going through kindergarten. This is because they are totally identical so comparisons and competition seem inevitable. Also, at age (almost 3) they have already discovered the “hilarity” of saying they are their brother. Bad news for future teachers and classmates. Anyway, I see your point though on the ease of having one teacher, one set of assignments, field trips, etc. If my kids were not so insanely identical – and had proven themselves capable of making their owns sets of friends – I would probably opt to keep them together for my own comfort. Can’t wait to hear what you decide!

  3. It’s possible I’m talking myself into this, so take it with as many grains of salt as you like, but here’s why I’m glad my kids will be in separate classrooms next year:

    No matter how conscientious and wonderful the teacher, they will always see the two of them as a unit. The teacher will always, intentionally or not, compare them to one another in a way that she not do with other kids. Yes, it’s a little easier with opposite-sex twins, and way easier than if they were identical. But still, it’s there.

    Also, though my kids are fairly independent around one another, not as attached-at-the-hip as some twins might be, they definitely have a particular dynamic between the two of them. They each play a particular role in their relationship (the “bossy” one, the “follower,” etc etc). I think it’s nice for them to have a break from that dynamic and figure out their place in another group of people, totally independent from their twin.

    Obviously, this is all theoretical in my world, since my kids don’t start school for another couple of months. And I certainly appreciate the convenience of having a single teacher and all of the other benefits of sharing a classroom.

    But my two cents, for whatever it may be worth, is to separate them. It might be a slightly tougher initial adjustment, but I think the long-term benefits are definitely there.

    And after a few hours at school, they will ALWAYS come home together and be the same brother and sister they always were. They’re still family, they’re still twins, they’re still together. A few hours a day of a break might not be such a bad thing.

  4. Like Liz I already know 100% I am separating. As it is Penny likes to do things and take over for Ned and I don’t want that fostered in a learning environment. As a multiple myself I strongly encourage you to separate – I wanted my own friends and identity (of course we were all girls). We didnt’ end up separated until 2nd grade but that is because there was only 2 classrooms so it wouldn’t have been “fair” to put 2 in one classroom and 1 in the the other. One thing that was nice in the elementary school I went to is that we “switched” classes (pilot program) starting in 2nd grade so I usually had at least one subject with another sister. Sometimes we did HW together, sometimes we didn’t.

  5. Interesting that you say you’d automatically separate them if they were the same sex since that’s not our plan. S & H are in the same preschool class at the public school and it’s not causing any problems. They work and play independently in the classroom. We’ve already discussed separation with their teacher and their pediatrician already. The girls have some diagnosable anxiety issues and we are all pretty sure that separating them would make things a lot worse. Our pedi thinks they will improve as they get older, we’ve already seen some progress this year, but they don’t need any setbacks to complicate things further. So unless things change dramatically in the next year of preschool, they’ll be in the same classroom for K.

    I think since you have a pretty equal list of pros/cons that you already know that they’ll be okay either way. Have you had a chat with their current preschool teacher to find out what she recommends? Have you considered that different teachers give different amounts of homework? Not so much an issue in K, but homework is just around the corner. and you’ll need a plan for that as well. Remember this post that the VP wrote:
    http://anitajd.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/reality-check/

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