Sneak Previews at School

My twin daughters M and J are in different classrooms at elementary school. Their teachers collaborate a lot, so the girls tend to cover the same course material at the same time, and are actually taught together–along with the other set of identical twins in their classes–for Language Arts.

When it comes to art, physical education, and music, though, the girls’ classes are on different schedules. They have different music teachers and learn different songs in music class while learning the same musical concepts.

Yesterday, M told me, she knew all the answers in music class. She “cheated” (her word) because J had told her all about her music class the day before. She earned a sticker for being about to explain the difference between beat and rhythm. M told the teacher that she had an unfair advantage because J had told her everything already, and the teacher didn’t seem to think much of it.

I can imagine that J’s music teacher might be pleased that J took away enough from class to want to and be able to share her new knowledge with a peer. However, I don’t want either of my daughters to be deprived of the joy of discovery in the classroom. I don’t want them to have an unfair advantage over their peers, either, from the early access to classroom material having a twin provides. When the time comes, I want them to choose to avoid previews of test questions, for instance, that would allow them to game the system. J and M are only 6 years old now, but I can only imagine that the next 6 years will rush by me just as fast as the last 6 did.

At the recommendation of some friends, I think I will talk to both girls about holding back from spilling the beans on new knowledge in the classroom until Sissy has had a chance to have the same experience with her teacher. Of course, I want them to feel like they can talk to each other, especially if they find schoolwork engaging. Some of my most effective learning in school came from discussing classroom material with my friends and getting their insights and perspectives.

How would you approach the matter of exposure to common course material at different times with your multiples? Has this come up?

Sadia’s identical twin daughters, J and M, attend dual language Spanish-English first grade in Central Texas. They have the same homework assignments, but get to choose 3 of 7 possible homework exercises each week per language, which keeps things interesting. They are lucky to have art and music at their school, in this age of funding cuts.

3 thoughts on “Sneak Previews at School

  1. I would be excited that they are talking about what they’ve learned and find interesting in their classes. But I would make sure that they understand that it IS okay to talk about what they’re learning, but NOT okay to share test questions or surprises that the teacher may have in store for the class. I don’t think that talking to each other about what they’re learning gives them an unfair advantage. It is an advantage, but it’s not unfair. It’s like the difference for a child who has parents that read to him versus one who doesn’t. Because the first child has an advantage doesn’t mean the parent should stop reading so that he can be equal to his peer.

  2. If you had an older and younger sibling, would you consider it ‘gaming the system’ or an ‘unfair advantage’ if the older sibling was sharing things that they had learned in school with the younger?

    While I can understand not wanting your child to share test questions or ‘surprises’, the idea that there shouldn’t be collaborative learning between your children seems strange to me, considering that most older/younger sibs operate at a much larger developmental advantage.

    Sharing the joy of learning, or even just an interesting classroom experience should be encouraged and applauded, not squelched.

  3. Pingback: From the Archives: Back to School | How Do You Do It?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>