Back to School: Why I Kept My Twins Together

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Categories Classroom Placement, School-Age

First day of kindergarten

My boy/girl twins have been in the same classroom every year through fourth grade.  I am lucky to live in a school district where parents can voice their preferences for placing twins in classrooms.   There are at least six sets of twins that I know of at our elementary school and I think only one other set is in the same class.  There are many parents who are surprised at our decision.  I’m surprised at how many do not stay together.

There are already resources on the internet to help you make the school decision, and I wont repeat what others have said better.  I refer you especially to an excellent article at  What I’d like to do in this post instead is give you a personal perspective on how it has worked for our family.

I really didn’t hesitate when I first made this decision.  My twins are now, and have always been, very close.  I asked my twins recently what they thought about staying together in school.   Their reply was enthusiastic.  They love to be together.  Among their reasons; they pick up homework when one is sick, they like doing projects together, they like to eat together, they like to work on homework together, and they like making friends with their twin’s friends.

I have a reason that is more selfish, and let me be straightforward about this:  keeping twins together in a classroom is a lot easier on the mom.  It doesn’t take long to discover that the school years are busy and parent participation is critical to success.  They will bring home books and projects and homework that you must work on with them, and it’s really a lot easier to tackle the same thing at the same time.  I always know what’s going on in the classroom, because I get all sides of the story.  If the curriculum were thrown at me at two different speeds or in two different ways because of two different teachers, I would have a much harder time keeping on top of things.  I think I would be comparing teachers unfairly.  I also think it would be a strain for me to go on multiple field trips.

Every year in the Spring, we talk together about whether they want to be in the same classroom the following year.  Then I talk to their teacher.  I have heard nothing but praise for how wonderfully my twins manage together in the classroom.  I ask lots of questions and I treat every school year as a fresh decision.

Part of me thinks that my twins are close because I kept them together.  By indicating to them that I valued their relationship, I think I helped to foster that relationship.  My twins tell me about their twin friends in separate classrooms who don’t get along at all.  I have no proof that there is cause and effect at work, but it is interesting to note how many twin sets are not getting along during their school years.

Last day of 4th grade, with their teacher

This last picture was taken in June, with their fourth grade teacher.  This Fall they are off to middle school, where they will be changing classes and will not necessarily be in the same classroom.  The one thing they’re looking forward to the most?  “Band!  Because we’ll get to be together!”

You can come visit my twins and their big sister at Lit and Laundry.

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12 thoughts on “Back to School: Why I Kept My Twins Together”

  1. I am so glad you took the time to write this, and to explain it so very well. We separated our twosome (we’re fortunate in that our school offered us the choice as well); for us, I know it was the very best decision; but MAN, do I ever want to voice that there are occasions when not only would same class be “easier for mom” as you say for logistical reasons, but for some emotional ones, too.

    Around Mother’s Day, for the kindergarten Mother’s Day tea, a mom cannot be in two places. We had to do some finagling to make that day work without tears…mostly mine. It DID work out, but same class for that day would have been MUCH easier!

    Making that decision regarding school placement is a very important one that needs to be made with each specific set of twin-individuals (and their parents) in mind.

    While we have no regrets about separating our twins for school, I’ve gained great appreciation and understanding on why some parents elect to keep them together from your post. Thank you!

  2. I really appreciated reading this. My boys are still young, but we’re considering separating them next year. Our day care is very open to us changing our mind and putting them back together if things do not work out.

  3. Thanks for this post! I think about this a lot, both for preschool in a year, and beyond. My inclination is always, “stay together forever,” but I do know I have to do what works best for them. I love your way of talking to them and their teachers every year and evaluating it as a new decision each time.

  4. I was in the same class with my triplet sisters only through first grade but our elementary school did an unusual pilot program where we “switched” classes from second grade on. I shared the occassional class with my sisters (usually just 2 of us in 1 subject) but was mostly on my own. I really did like it – made me more independent and I assure you my sisters were required to visit my teachers when I was out sick to get homework. If your kids like being together that is great but I will say separate classes foster a good sense of independence in each of your kids even if your sanity is put to the limits for homework (must have been a different era but I don’t remember my mom helping me with homework). Eventually they will end up in similar classes in high school if they both are in the same level (AP, etc.).

    For cheryllage – the one time I remember being annoyed was our sweet 16 birthday party when my dad danced with my sister as the oldest and I was left having to dance with a friend’s grandfather. Generally I didn’t mind if my mom was in a different classroom (and she sort of just stopped doing that stuff after a while).

    Oddly enough I just posted on independence with multiples at my blog this morning in case anyone is interested in checking it out.

  5. I’m going to chime back in here and direct readers to the link I posted, if they haven’t read it already. From the article:

    “Unless there is a compelling reason to separate them, the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs ( NOMOTC) and other experts advocate keeping them together, especially in early elementary years. ”

    And from the NOMOTC website:

    “Dr. Nancy Segal, author and advocate of keeping multiples together says, “In our culture we appreciate uniqueness, and people wrongly equate twin closeness with a lack of individuality.” She continues, “There’s research that suggests that when friends are in the same class, they’re more exploratory, they cling to the teacher less. So, if we are worried about individuality, why do we let best friends go to school together?” In a University of Wisconsin and the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College in London research study, 878 pairs of twins from ages 5 to 7 found that twins separated early were observed to be more anxious and emotionally distressed than those who remained in the same class. This was especially true for identical twins.”

    The position paper from the NOMOTC also discusses how it is better to begin with twins together and separate them if issues arise.

    I should have included these sources in my article as part of the reason we made this choice for our family.

  6. Since I am a teacher, I’ve worried about this issue since I found out I was expecting twins! I still have 3 years until kindergarten, but I think about this often!

    I’m curious, though. You mentioned not wanting to unfairly compare teachers, which I think is very insightful of you, but I wonder about teachers comparing twins. I am leaning towards keeping them together at least in kindergarten; however, the strong likelihood of them being compared is my biggest concern. Like you, I have a girl and boy, so there are already huge differences that are normal for girls and boys that age. I just don’t want one referred to as the “smart, behaved, cooperative…” one, and the other as the “slow, active, mischievous…” one. I know from personal experience that comparisons exist in classrooms even without twins or between twins in different classrooms, but I don’t want to compound the problem. I guess it really just depends on the teacher.

    I am interested in your viewpoint on this from your experience. Family and friends (and even myself, sometimes) compare them now, so I can’t imagine what it would be like in an educational setting.

    I definitely like your take on homework, projects, and special occasions, though! Same class would definitely simplify things!

  7. Wendy, I think some comparisons *always* happen with siblings. I was the youngest of 4 and I got tired of hearing about my brothers and sister. I can’t imagine it would be worse with twins.

    I think I would be more concerned about people trying to differentiate identical twins by their attributes than spending time making comparisons with other types of twins. Every teacher we’ve had has treated my kids as individuals, and they definitely have their strengths and weaknesses like any individuals.

    Anybody looking at that first picture can tell my son is the crazy one and my daughter is the angel. Because one of them acts like a boy and one of them acts like a girl.

    There, I just compared them.


  8. I whole-heartedly agree and for many of the same reasons. My boy/girl twins have also been in the same classroom and will continue to be together until someone gives me a very good reason to separate them. I really appreciate a school district who leaves this decision up to the parent and I will be asking that question in the future if we ever move.
    .-= kp´s last blog ..Really? =-.

  9. Mine will be separate for the 1st time in 2nd grade. What’s hurting is knowing that it’s 100%right for my girl while at the same time, not the best for my boy. I think this will be the hardest year for me. But we have a great school and family system so we will be fine no matter what:)

    1. That’s a rough spot to be in, Amy. I’m sure that people with kids of different ages balance their kids’ different needs all the time and there’s a constant give and take, but for me it’s so hard every time I have to ask one child to sacrifice for the other or when something is a better fit for one twin. Let us know how it goes!

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