Twins and School

Parent Q&A

  • My twin daughters will enter 6th grade at King in the fall. Does anyone know if King has a policy for twins or other multiples being in the same class or different classes? I know some schools have policies, others have recommendations, and others leave it entirely up to the parents. 

    I'm not looking for advice on the topic, though feel free to chime in if you feel strongly about the issue. I just want to know what position King takes on the subject and what is the right point in the enrollment process to for a parent to communicate a preference.

    Thanks,

    Chris

    Hi - I have identical twin girls who are now juniors in high school. It sounds like you haven't formed a strong preference for whether your twins are placed in the same class or not. My feeling is that it depends on what kind of twins you have (identical, fraternal, boys, girls, etc.) and what their relationship is like and how co-dependent they are (which can be a function of the kinds of twins they are).  We always had ours in different classes in the public school, and then we sent ours to different, private middle schools. That was a learning experience as we thought they were quite independent but it turns out that one was quite dependent on the other socially, so being in different schools was difficult for one, but for the other it was liberating. I'm a big fan of having twins establish their own identities with others and have different educational experiences, that's hard when they're in the same school, even when in separate classrooms. Because the material covered and homework assignments by the different teachers are exactly the same, there is still a lot of comparing going on. In any event, you should be able to ask the school for them to be together if you really want them to be, but even if they're apart they will see a lot of each other, and getting them used to being apart will be very useful and important for when they eventually go to college. 

    My understanding when my kids started at King (they are now at BHS) was that the school would put them in different classes with the same core teachers.  So for 6th grade they had the same two teachers for Eng/History and Math/Science, but at different times.  The advantage of this is that you can schedule conferences at the same time and go to one welcome event instead of two.  After 6th grade it was more uneven and my kids ended up in some of the same classes but for 6th grade that was the stated policy.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Twins in school - together or separate?

Jan 2001

My twin daughters will be entering kindergarten in the fall, so we are about to face the familiar dilemma: together or apart? The school they will probably be attending has two classes per grade, so we do have the choice of separating them. They are fraternal twins who look nothing alike. They're pretty good friends, though they do their share of fighting... One is going through a very competitive, dominating stage where she always has to be the first, the highest, the biggest, the oldest etc. The other says she would like to be in separate rooms. Right now they're at a preschool with a total of 20 kids, and they're together. Has anyone had a similar experience? Any thoughts? Thanks. Iris


My cousin's twins were in separate classes when they started school. The boy flourished at this time. The girl was always outgoing and made friends easily and the boy sort of depended on her for the friends and often was left out. He now has his own friends and is much more self confident. June


My fraternal twins are now nearly 14. A girl and boy. We tried to listen to what they wanted in terms of separation, and togetherness. They really wanted to be together, even though they fought and played together.

I observed that their response to other children was markedly different than that of singletons. As twins, they have had a partner since they were womb-mates. They know what intimacy is. That's one of the reasons they fight and love so strongly, and the relationship is so vivid. When they reach out to other children, they don't get the intimacy and intensity, the connection, that they expect, and the tendency is to return to the other twin for comfort. But this wanes. Some twins are so close that to separate them would be like forcing a happily married couple to divorce. Some need that extra push to learn the world of the other.

In any event, there is no harm in starting them out together and seeing how it works, while getting their feedback and the teachers'. There is no rush to separate them, is there? Developmentally, there is no time table that specifically demands you keep those kids apart so they don't become conjoined. If in the same class, you'll be able to evaluate the situation, and make changes if necessary. The reverse would be harder on everyone. Tobie


I am a fraternal twin who was not separated in the classroom until the fourth grade. Looking back, not separating us was a huge mistake. Both of us suffered in different ways. My twin was not quite academically ready for school (we were Nov. babies) and developed a pattern of copying me and not really thinking things through for himself. This was very subtle and not noticed until we changed schools and their policy was to separate twins. By that time he was significantly behind. His self-esteem fell dramatically as he began to fail at schoolwork and even now as an adult has complex failure issues.

Though I always was a more assertive person, I did not learn how to make friends on my own. My twin was my best friend and we were always together so I didn't need to make new friends. I really missed out on the basics of making friends. By the time we got separated, I was hopelessly behind socially and withdrew from my peers because I felt like such a dweeb.

My twin and I share some attributes- mostly in personality, not looks- and everyone assumed that we operated as a unit and therefore felt and experienced the same things. This was detrimental to us both. It is much more difficult for a twin to figure out who they are as an individual. An I rather that a we. Being in the same classroom compounded that problem. Personally, I would never even consider not separating twins in school. Helene