Friday, March 1, 2013

Multiples...Together or Separate...In School

I seem to run across article after article about multiples...together or separate.  I have done some research on this topic and have made some decisions. This is what our family has decided to do and may or may not be what your family does.  This is just my opinions and my observations. 

 My twin boys (Eamon and Liam)  are 10 years old and currently in the 5th grade. Early on I struggled with what to do with them.  You hear so much on this topic and of course you want to do the right thing.....oh and by the way...these were my first and oldest children so I was not the veteran.  We ended up deciding to keep them together in the same class thru the 2nd grade.  It worked out great and I will probably do the same thing again with the triplets. 

There were factors that helped our decision and starting in preschool I relied on the teachers to tell me how they acted in class.  I wanted to know if they were dependant on each other, did they play exclusively with each other or did they pair up with other kids?.  I also requested every year that they be put at different tables and if grouped up, different groups.  At the end of each year I asked the teacher their opinion on what they would recommend.  The biggest thing I kept hearing was They are very independent and they do not depend on each other so the decision is up to you.

We started the 2nd grade and by the middle of the school year it was clear that each of them were demonstrating their own strengths and weaknesses.  I experienced homework when one would understand something and the other wouldn't.  I also noticed that because they were in the same class they were competing more.  I am all for a good competition but there was a point when I felt that if they were in different classes they would not be under each others microscope.  Liam wouldn't know if Eamon answered a question wrong and Eamon wouldn't know if Liam got 10 wrong on a quiz. 

Eamon seemed to be fine with the news that they would be in different classes for the 3rd grade while I believe that Liam was a little bummed that his side kick wasn't going to be there.  We are currently in the 5th grade with different teachers and it has been great.  They switch classes so they share a math class but for the most part they are apart.  They do their homework very differently as far as what order and when they do it but they can still go to each other and ask about a topic they are unclear about.  Eamon has developed a set of friends and so has Liam.  They don't always sit together at lunch and they have a group of buddies that they share.  They play hockey together on the same team.  They are both Defense men (Eamon is left handed and Liam is right) and it is kind of cool when they are both on the ice at the same time.  This is the first year that we are splitting up for spring sports.  Liam is playing baseball and Eamon wants to hang up his baseball career and jump into some lacrosse.  We are experiencing more individual play dates where one is invited and the other is not.  I am great with this because they have to learn that they are not invited to everything and that each of them has special friends.  It doesn't happen too often but I welcome it when it does.  I also love it when they have the same buddies and they both get invited places.  They are truly each others best friend.

Here are some things that we also thought about and experienced that helped our decisions.

When kids are in different classes there are two classes to volunteer in, twice the schedules to keep up with and double the homework.  Sharing a classroom in the early years helped because the kids do need more help when they are early readers and need more guidance with homework.  I was able to sit down and help both read the directions, fill out our reading logs, help out with counting coins projects and all the little projects they need to do at the young ages.  I could make it to all of their holiday parties and not have to leave one to go to the other one.   Everyone was on the same schedule and the same homework.  I find now that it is a good thing that they are on their own with homework because they can be working on different chapters and different lessons. 

Parent teacher conferences were very easy early on because I was able to double book one teacher and I was done.  Now I have to get to the parent teacher conference sign up sheet early on so I can arrange to go from one to the other. 

Birthday parties were easy early on because we were in the same class and only had to invite one class. By the time we split up they were older and the parties went from, invite everyone to invite those who are your friends.

Having one teacher (we were blessed with good teachers)  I was comforted knowing that they both were getting taught the lesson the same way, by the same teacher.  My fear in separating was that what if one got a stronger teacher and the other struggled merely because the teacher wasn't as experienced or strong.  This will probably be my biggest factor in my decisions for the triplets.  If there are 4 teachers in the 3rd grade and I am not a fan of 2 of them...what do you do????  

When they are in different classes they can both work hard to be the best in their class.  They can be the kid that gets the 100% on a test and the other one is fine with it because he got the 100% in his class.  (this is just an example but by no means do we all get

The triplets are currently in 3 year old preschool and are all together.  We are scheduled for 5 mornings a week for next year and going to be in the same class.  I plan to enter Kindergarten together and with the help of the teachers and my observations we will make our plans from there.  Not nearly as worried or stressed about the second bunch...I have been here and done this!


Sarah said...

Lots of things I hadn't thought considered. I still have several years before my kids are ready for school, but its one of those random things I think about. Thanks for sharing.

The McCleary Quadruplets said...

All 4 of ours are in the same pre-school class. There are a total of 14 kids, and 4 of them are ours. We have thought and thought about if and how on the separation many times now. There are lots of pro's and con's, and we believe if they have to be separated it'll be 2 and 2. As for your triplets, that would be hard to separate. Wouldn't be really fair to do keep 2 in one class room, and having 3 different teachers would probably create more work/stress keeping them separated and planning birthdays & parent teacher conferences.