Guest Author - Kris Bigalk
When it's time to send twins to school, many parents ask themselves whether or not their twins should remain together in the same classroom. While it's important to ask this question when twins begin school, it's also important to consider the issue each school year.
Each set of twins has a unique dynamic. Some twins get along very well, don't compete, and seem to do better when they share the same classroom with their twin. Other sets of twins have a very dominant twin who may tend to speak for the other twin or compete with the other twin, affecting the less dominant twin's self-esteem. In these cases, parents often consider splitting up the twins. This twin dynamic may change over time and with school situations.
For example, one mother of identical twins told me that she can't imagine how her children would succeed academically if they were separated. "They just need to be in the same room together," she said. "They don't have to talk to each other all the time, they just need to see the other one is there."
Another mother of fraternal twins rolled her eyes when I asked her if her twins would be separated in school. "YES!" She said. "My daughter does all the talking for my son, and orders him around. Also, he's not as quick of a learner, and is intimidated by her. If they were together in the same classroom, he'd end up hating school."
Unfortunately, most of the time parents don't have the last word when it comes to the decision of whether or not to split up twins. Minnesota is the only state that has passed a bill giving parents the power to decide whether or not their twins are separated in school. Some public schools even have an "always separate" policy with twins, while others are more flexible and will work with parents.
In the year before your twins enter school, meet with the principal, and, if possible, the Kindergarten teachers, to discuss your concerns regarding placing your twins together or separately. By conversing with school administrators and faculty, you can get an idea as to whether or not they are open to letting you decide how your children are placed. Though the laws don't guarantee parent input, some school districts are more sensitive to parent concerns than others.
Another option for some parents is sending their twins to private school. Many private schools are much more accommodating to parents' wishes regarding these matters. This option is too expensive for many parents of twins, however.
For more information on how to sign a petition to have legislation passed in your state that will guarantee parents of twins the right to choose whether or not their twins stay together in the classroom, check out this link: TwinsLegislation.com.