February 04, 2010

Splitting Them Up

At some point, every parent of multiples is faced with this question "Do I separate my children in school?" It has been something that weighs on my mind as the beginning of each school year approaches.
When my daughters started preschool last year, they only went two days a week. I talked with the head of the preschool program and she suggested I keep them in the same class the first year. She had some good points: I wouldn't have to deal with multiple field trips, multiple in-class birthday parties, all the homework would be the same. On the first day of school I was so glad I made the decision to keep them together. My daughters had were on the verge of turning three. Many of their classmates were already four. My girls were the teeny, tiniest things in that room. It helped to have them together, simply so they didn't stand out.
When the time came to figure out what to do for this year, I decided to keep them together again. I really like our teacher and I couldn't imagine only having one or two of my daughters in her class.
I'm pretty sure I'll keep them in the same class next year for their final year of preschool. But then comes kindergarten. They'll be in a different school, so initially I thought I should keep them together to help ease the transition. Then I thought maybe it's good to have all the changes come at once. I still have some time to think about it.
Until my daughters are in high school, I doubt there will be a chance to truly separate them... in other words, putting all four of them in different classes. Our school district isn't small, but it's not so big that the elementary schools have four classes for the same grade level. I'm not going to spend my time driving them to and from school all day, so splitting them into am and pm kindergarten won't work. Also, don't even suggest putting them in different schools. Not. Going. To. Happen.
So then what? How do I split them up? Two and two, most likely. But which two? We're giving them a second bedroom in the spring, so I doubt I'll want to put the "roommates" together. They'll get enough of each other at home. There are some personality conflicts on occasion and some of the girls tend to thrive out of the shadow of the others.
Clearly I have a lot to consider over the next year and a half. I'll let you know how I sort it out.

14 comments:

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

One thing I'm glad to not have to worry about - good luck figuring it all out!

Stephanie B said...

Your blog is an excellent reminder of how different the dynamics of a multi-child household differ from a single child household - and yet you have issues most multi-child households don't even have to deal with.

Good luck to you.

Becky said...

our school district just happens to have 4 kindergarten classes! But, we are the ONLY elementary school in the district. Anyway, I don't think, to my knowledge that we have any more than twins in our district. This year there are FOUR SETS OF TWINS in kindergarten!!! ANYWAY, typically, our district prefers to split the kids up....but my friend, who has twins really pushed for her kids to be together this year.....after this year, I'm not sure what will happen. Check with your school district and see if they have a "policy" for multiple siblings. And if there are 3 classes make sure that they are doubled up in two classes so that two of them aren't alone. At least you have another year to figure this all out!!!! :)

Sadia said...

I asked an adult twin friend for pointers on raising twins. One of the things that she pointed out is that my daughters, being raised in the same household and being exposed to the same values and experiences, may have very similar experiences in high school. She found it to be helpful to have been separated from her sister in elementary school because in high school, she and her sister were BOTH in the gifted classes and were BOTH in choir and were BOTH in a number of other activities together.

On the other side of things, my husband and his sister were in the same grade, and by high school only their closest friends had any idea they were related.

Of course, this is much easier for me (and my friends' parents, and my in-laws), with only two children of the same age. I don't know how I'd manage four. Let us know where you go with this.

Sadia said...

I just saw Becky's comment - FYI, more and more states are passing laws allowing parents to make decisions regarding whether multiples should be kept together or split up. In general, I'd say that parents of multiples are better educated and less likely to fall back on stereotypes of multiple birth children than school administrators.

Quadmama said...

Right now our district doesn't have any written policy on multiples. It's basically a dialogue between the school and the parents. BUT I know there are some states that FORCE a split, and I don't think that's fair. (more on that in another blog... Monday perhaps).

Marilynne said...

Good luck. Probably whatever you choose will work. You may eventually get some feedback from the girls. They might someday not want to be in the same class with their sisters.

Meanwhile, I don't know how you dress them, but if they're in the same class, I think I'd dress each child differently from the others. It would help the other children and teachers tell one child from another.

Can't help, but give advice and I know you don't like it.

Quadmama said...

Marilynne... it's not that I don't like advice, it's just that some people aren't always sensitive with their suggestions. I actually don't let them dress alike at school, even when they want to. I'm hoping this will encourage classmates and teachers to see them as individuals rather than "the quads."

Kisha said...

Wow-I'm stressed out enough deciding between half day and full day kindergarten for my singular child. I can't even imagine all the decisions you have to make! My hat's off to you, lady.

Quadmama said...

To be honest, I would love full day kindergarten. After three years of preschool I think they'll be ready for a full day. However, I realize there are numerous students who didn't go to preschool and need to ease into the whole process.

Becky said...

YAY for no written policies! The parents do know best and I totally agree that it should be a dialogue between the parents and school on what is in the best interest of the kids. I was glad my friend was able to keep her kids together....her little guy was a little sad at the thought of being split up from his sister. so sweet.

reanbean said...

What a tough decision. I'm already pretty sure I'll keep my kids together for pre-school, but not sure what I'll do about Kindergarten. Our state allows parents to have a say, and currently our town has about 8 classrooms per grade (there's only one elementary school for K-2 and then another one for 3-5), so there's definitely plenty of room to split them when the time comes for that. I guess I'm thinking I'll wait and see how pre-school goes, and I'll talk to the teacher to get his/her opinion before making my final decision. I do think parents know their kids best, but a teacher who sees them in an academic setting may be a good person for a second opinion. Good luck making your decision!

Quadmama said...

I definitely want some teacher input... although I'm pretty sure our teacher is going to suggest splitting them next year. We'll see...

SLColman said...

Good luck figuring this out! Exciting stuff though :)

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