Should Twins Be in the Same or Separate Classrooms?

When your twins are ready to start school, the big question is always whether they would be better off in the same class or different classes (assuming there is more than one class in their grade level at that school). First of all, you should know that you may not have a choice! Some schools require that twins be placed in separate classrooms. If you’d prefer that your twins be in the same class, you’ll want to do your research well before it’s time for the kids to start school. You may choose to move your children to a school that is more willing to work with your request, or you may wish to explore your options to fight the policy, as did Wendy M. Haavisto of Minnesota. When her boy/girl twins were forced into separate classes at the start of first grade, she took her fight all the way to the state legislature, where a bill was signed into law on May 5, 2005, giving parents of multiples the right to choose whether their children should be placed in the same or different classrooms. Since then, many other states have passed similar laws (including my home state of Florida).

With that in mind, and assuming you DO have a choice, you should know that there are advantages and disadvantages to both options.

Advantages of Placing Twins in Different Classrooms:

Your children are more likely to be judged as individuals rather than as a unit. Comparisons between the two will be avoided.

If your twins tend to play only with each other, this might help them to make new friends and be more sociable.

Your twins will be less distracted by each other and better able to focus on their work.

They’ll both have to do their own homework, as it is likely to be different. One can’t rely on the other to do the work or supply the answers.

If one twin lives in the shadow of the other, this may allow the shyer, less confident child to shine.

Advantages of Placing Twins in the Same Classroom:

Your children will experience equal instructional quality. One won’t get the “bad teacher” while the other benefits from one who’s better qualified.

It will be easier to help them with homework when they have the same assignments, and they can help each other as well.

It will be easier for you to participate in the classroom when you’re not stretched thinner with two different classes (especially if you already have other children in other classes).

As starting school can be an adjustment for any child, having a brother or sister in the classroom can make the adjustment less traumatic.

They’ll have each other’s ears in the classroom. If one misses the details of an assignment, the other may hear it and repeat it at home.

If you feel your twins would do better together, but your school has a strict policy of separate classrooms-and you don’t feel you have the resources to fight it or move-consider taking a “wait-and-see policy.” Some families are pleasantly surprised at how well their twins adjust to separate classrooms after a period of time. Ideally, make sure you know your school or district’s policy as it relates to twins several years before your children start kindergarten (or a new school) so you can pursue the choice that’s right for your family.