Monday, August 11, 2008

School - Separate Twins Or Not?

Now, this is often a controversial subject.

People have all sorts of opinions on this subject. I can't tell you the number of people, over the years, that wanted to stop me and talk about this - offer their opinion ... wanted to hear my point of view.

I have twins.

They are now 16 years old.

What do you think I did about school?

Did I insist that my twins be kept together or did I insist that they be separated?

Or ... did I just agree with what the school suggested I do?

Oh ... if you know me at all --- you'd know that I don't hardly ever agree with what anyone tells me to do - quietly.

And ... if you know me at all --- you'd know that I don't hardly ever go along with the "norm" just because something has "always" been done a certain way - for whatever reason.


I - from the get go - requested/demanded that my twin daughters be ...

Put in the same classes.

All the way through 5th grade - all of elementary school.

It was not the "norm".

It was not without some minor resistance from the school.

I spent a lot of hours worrying over this choice. I did a lot of research, a lot of reading and a lot of praying. Looking back on it now, I made the right choice - for my twins. Looking back on it now ... there was never any other choice.

I kept my twins together from Kindergarten through 5th grade - intentionally.
I was lucky that I was dealing with a school and an administration that was open to the parents making such a decision. I was very aware at the time that it was not common practice to put twins together or was it met with cooperation on the schools part to necessarily do it because the parents wanted it. And I had several meetings and many letters sent to the school, explaining our situation and expressing our opinion on the matter. We were lucky that the school (the Principal) was sensitive and concerned enough to allow us to do what we felt was best for our children.

It ended up not being all that hard to convince the Principal of the school and school Counselor that they were MY children and if there was a decision to be made - it was GOING TO BE MADE BY ME. And ... if there was was a mistake to be made - it would be mine!

My twins are identical twins. Not all identical twins should be necessarily left together in classes. Not all fraternal twins either. But ... some twins should/could be without adverse affect to either twin.

I concluded that --- MY GIRLS --- MY TWINS --- would do better if kept together.

I didn't know if I was right or if there would be problems - but, I was pretty sure it was the right decision for my kids.

And ... IT WAS!

One of the best decisions ... I ever made.

I was lucky that my girls attended a school where my opinion and decision was respected and accommodated. I was lucky the teachers and administration were willing to work with us and allowed this request without issue. We were lucky.

Not all parents are that lucky, as many schools fight to separate twins - feeling that it is the thing to do - promotes individualism, etc.

I do not believe that ALL twins should be kept together and I do not believe the ALL twins should be separated. It all depends on the twins. Their relationship with each other. How they handle fitting into the world around them. How secure they are, etc. There are many issues to consider, but ... there is not ONE answer for ALL sets of twins and I think it is very important that if parents feel strongly, one way or the other, that they should stand their ground - make their view point understood and do everything they have to do to make it happen.

I think sometimes that parents of twins are too easily convinced to separate their twins because they just don't know what to do. They go by what the school tells them to do or what has been the "norm".

I was lucky, in that I had a strong intuition about my girls. I strongly felt that it would hurt them to separate them and it would not hurt them or anyone to keep them together and so ... that is the position I held to.

I was lucky that I was right.

For my daughters' sakes and because I believe there were people just waiting for the "experiment" to blow up in our faces.

It became pretty evident that there were teachers and other parents (of twins and not of twins) very aware of our choice, as I would be approached many times by people, questioning our decision. I got to where I refused to discuss the issue, and only answered with, "It's the right decision for OUR girls," and left it at that. But, people were curious and confused and did not agree.

I didn't care.

Like I said - I KNEW what I believed was right and that was all that mattered. We went against the grain and it could not have worked out better for Courtney and Chloe.

Because my girls are identical twins, I was very concerned that their "twinship" always be protected. The bond. The connection. I was aware - by the time school started - that they were already very independent of each other and sure of their own identities - as best I could be, at that age. So ... my intuition told me that there was then, therefore, no reason to separate them and especially if I believed (as I did) that preserving their "togetherness" - their "twinship" - was hugely important!

Separating twins for the sake of SEPARATING them - makes me crazy! I totally believe that they are unique and special and it is not my duty to take that away from them - as SEPARATING them (whenever) for the sake of SEPARATING them, does! I feel it my duty - as their mother - to PRESERVE that twinship. Protect it. Nurture it.

I have seen twins, where one is more dominant than the other. My girls were never that way. If they had been - I'd have had that to consider, but ... I would have considered it long and hard before separating them.

My girls entered middle school (6th grade) and went their separate ways - it was easy - it was time - it was okay!

If I look back at the decisions I have made with my children, I'd have to say that this one decision was one of the best decisions I ever made. I believe it not only reinforced the bond my twins have to each other as twins, but as sisters, as friends and it proved to do exactly what I hoped it would do. Because of their personalities - their nature - having the other one near by and in the same class, made them compete in a positive way and help each other in a positive way. They have never pulled the other one along, but ... they have often gotten behind each other and pushed.

I'm okay with that. I couldn't have wished for more. What a gift!

I love the idea that they have each other - ALWAYS! And, I am proud that I have done my best to preserve that - especially in their younger years.

They are twins.

They were born together - by God's will.

They are meant to be together until they choose to be apart.

So far ...

My twins are very close - best friends.

They love each other. They respect each other. They support and help each other.

What could be better than that?

This is my opinion - what do you think? Are you in agreement with me or are you On The Flipside on the issue of separating twins in school?

Give me your most honest opinion - whether you agree with me or have a FLIPSIDE view. But, please make sure you follow the comment rules and be nice to me and other commenter's. And please go over to my sidebar and participate in the poll on this topic.

Poll Question: Should Twins Be In The Same Class At School? 19 People Took Poll. 4 (21%) Said YES. 1 (5%) Said NO. 14 (73%) Said It Depends On The Twins.


Dawn said...

I like any mom who's willing to go "against the grain" and and stand up for decisions they believe to be best for their kids. Being a twin is a very special thing to be and I think it's great that you kept them together.

Jacey said...

I think that as their mother, you'd know what was best for them. However, as a teacher, I'd say that if that WASN'T working (clearly it did!) it would the teacher's job to bring it up with the parents and suggest that they reconsider.
The class I'm with at the moment - they're littlies - the 5's - and there's a set of twins. Fraternal, boy and girl. They were put together this year, by parents request, and aspart of the Year One school policy. But at parent interviews this term, the parents have requested that next year they be sperated, and the school agrees. For these twins, it's a matter of them clashing. One upmanship, bickering, competitiveness. And I would say that putting them in sperate classes next year will be what's right for THEM.
But, like I said.... it obviously worked for your twins to be together.
I think it should be up to the parents, but I also think that they need to be willing to listen to the school and the teacher after the first year, and see how it's all gone, and what THEY think is best from an academic POV.

Brenda said...

I agree that you know what's best for your children and it irks me to no end when some academic professionals insist that their way is the right way, the only way, and that they know better than the parents what's best for the children. I am the great aunt of twins who did much better by being separated and the main reason was that one twin was dominate and her sister depended on her to make all the decisions for them both. By being in separate classes, the less dominate twin found her niche and her personality and individuality bloomed.

dani said...

i think it's totally dependent on the twin's relationship and, thus, what the parents think is best for THEIR twins. i am one who believes that not all rules pertain to all people and all situations.
i'm totally with you on this one, kellan:)

Brittany said...

I think the parents should decide. And I think each situation might be different. If they work well alone, then let them be separated. If they want to be together and need to be together, to feel emotionally secure, then let them be together. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer here; I think each situation would be different.

mamajil said...

I think they should be together...but then again I home school all of mine so they are always together :)
I think that the sibling bond needs to always be fostered and nurtured...
I think its great that you pushed for your girls to be together!!

Andrea said...

In the end, I think it needs to be the parents' decision -- what they feel is best for their children. Afterall, THEY are the ones apt to know the best what will hurt them or be best for them.

One Scrappy Chicklet said...

I do not have twins so therefore I am not in the best position to be answering this but... that being said in my opinion I would think that it would be based on the twins. Starting school is hard enough on kids and for some the seperation from the moms and dads is very stressful (no experience here either coz all of my punklings couldn't wait for me to leave the class)so I would think that if you also seperated them from the one person that they have never been away from would be way to much to deal with.
On the other hand some twins thrive on being individuals and do not want to be attached to the other. I am not sure if this is very prominent in Kindergarten though.
Like I said no twins here. LOL


forgetfulone said...

I have twins, but they're boy/girl instead of same sex, so my issues were probably a little different than yours.

And of course, I have an opinion. But mostly, I want to say that a mom knows their children better than anyone else, and the parents' wishes most definitely should be taken into consideration.

My twins went to Kindy, first grade, and second grade in the same room, by my request. At third grade, I asked for them to be in separate classes. In fourth and fifth grades, I again asked for separate classes - same teachers, though. I didn't want to keep up with four teachers. These are the two grades where they're with one teacher half the day and another teacher half the day. So, they had the same teachers at different times, so they weren't in the room for the same class at the same time. Does that make sense?

I teach school. We have some parents who insist their twins remain together, and some who request them to be separated. Some don't care either way. But if a parent has a request, we usually honor it unless their is a clear reason why it's not in the children's best interests (kind of what Jacey said).

I think it depends on the twins and their personalities, so just because keeping them together is right in one case doesn't mean it is right in another case. Whew! I'm a big longwinded!

Tabitha said...

I think that you as their parent ~ made the right choice for them!
I think that I would have done the same as you ~ but it does depend on the children and the situation!
You have done a great job raising all our children Kellan and you should be rightly proud of that

Kate said...

My twins are not even two - but I've been hearing more discussion on this subject. It never even occurred to me that they would be separated. I like your attitude about just doing what you think is best for your own kids and their personalities - not to go by some standard procedure.

At this point I think my guys would prefer to be together - but if that changes then I wouldn't force them to be in the same class either. At any rate - I have some time to think about it!

Courtney said...

I agree with you in that it depends on the twins. I have a set of twin cousins who are going into first grade that were seperated in kindergarten and should have been. Their parents knew it, their family knew it, and their teachers now know it. One is very dominatinating and it was good for the non dominating one to be seperated.

Sandra Carvalho said...

I'm with you girl!If I had twins I'd want them to be together in the same classes.

tammy said...

I always wanted to have twins. I think it's very important that the school listen to the parents on what they believe their child(ren) needs, in any situation. You're very lucky to have had that.

Denise Wheeler said...

Being the mother of multiples, I couldn't agree with you more. This issue has caused me heartburn from the day we found out we were having triplets. I can not imagine seperating my kids, yet. Of course we have a few more years before we really have to make that decision but it WILL be a decision that WE make. NOt the school. I have already told my husband that if it comes down to it, and we feel it best to keep them together, I will homeschool before I will allow them to be seperated. I homeschooled the older kids and I loved it. Obviously, when it is time for them to start school we take everything into consideration but at this point I don't see seperating them being a good idea. Way to go, Kellan! Fighting for what was right for your girls. I completely agree that some parents of multiples "roll over" too easily when it comes to this issue.

Kami said...

I think I compelety agree Kellan, it depends on the twins and it should be entirely up to the parents.

I admire you for sticking to your guns with your girls, clearly you knew what was best for them.


Amanda said...

I have 6 year old twin boys, and i have kept them together in nursery school and have choose to keep them in the same classroom together now that they are in primary school. I felt strongly about this. They have all their lives to go seperate ways, until then, i want them to enjoy being together.

Joanna said...

You voiced it well! For us the boys would not have done well apart. There are no words to explain why you know but you just do. But the school kept fighting me about it and would not bend so we ended up homeschooling because I felt so strongly about it.

Now? They would be find going their own way but for us as a family this is working.
I'm with ya!

Helen E.M. Wright said...

How can anyone make a decision about someone else's children?!?

As everything else in the 'land of bringing up children' all depends on the child(ren) themselves!

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Kellan, you are a fabulous mother. I love that you did what you believed was right for your girls and stood by it, not letting others tell you (who know better than anyone else) what was best for your girls. Parents do need to advocate for their children.

Would I separate twins? I don't know, but my gut feeling, without having done any reading or research on the matter, would be to keep them together as you did. Family bonds are so important and it has to be a very powerful bond for twins. Why should they be forced to separate at age 5, for heaven's sakes? Or even 10 or later. I should think that the bond is a very positive one. By 18? Well, yeah. They need to lead separate lives but hopefully with a lifelong close relationship, like no one elses. I think you made the right decisions.

Gail's Man said...

Hi Kellan, thanks for your visit to Paintbox Pictures & your kind comments. Do please call again, as you never know what someone's going to do. Why not try one yourself?

The Fritz Facts said...

I agree that it should be up to the parents, with the school and parents looking at the situation as the year goes on. It may be best for one set, and not for another.

I am so glad you have a school that listens to what you want!!

bichonpawz said...

I totally think it should be up to the parents of each individual set of twins. The mom knows what is best for HER twins!! Good for you, Kellan! Your girls will thank you for it someday I'm sure!!

Denise said...

If I had twins, I think I'd like for them to stay together. I totally agree with how you think about this subject.