They Should Be Together, But They’re Not

If you’re looking for the fun, first day of kindergarten post, you’ll find that by clicking here. This one is going to focus on the drama that went down just a couple of days before school started, surrounding the issue of whether or not to split the boys up into different classrooms. It’s long, and I’m not even sure I’ve covered everything!

Whether or not to separate their twins, triplets or more is a hot topic in groups for parents of multiples. Many schools have blanket “we always split twins or triplets” policies in place. However, more and more schools are seeing that there can be benefit to discussing things with the parents and previous teachers before making such a sweeping judgement call for each and every set of multiples that walks through their doorway.

Some parents just know when it’s time to split their multiples up. They often have excellent reasons for it too! Anything from excessive clinginess to fighting like cats and dogs to being so concerned about what a sibling is doing that they can’t focus on themselves.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are multiples who seem to just do best when together. They’re not clingy, one doesn’t dominate over another, they rarely fight, they have a history of thriving together in the classroom, making friends, and developing individual interests. That’s the category Jackson, Ty & Chase are in, which is why we have been pro keeping them together for these early school years.

Rather than re-hash every single detail, and have you lose interest before you even reach the mid-way point of this post, I’m going to just bullet point the really important stuff here for you….

  • Last spring I began conversing with the principal at the boys’ soon-to-be school. She seemed open to the idea of keeping them together, and had found out the district did not have one of those blanket policies.
  • In late May, she contacted me to tell me she had decided to resign from the principal position and that the decision would now be up to the new principal, and he or she wouldn’t be announced until mid-summer!
  • In mid-July the new principal was announced, and I immediately contacted him via e-mail. I explained the situation, and forwarded on the research links I had given to the previous principal (those links to research about multiples in the classroom will be at the end of this post too).
  • Current principal e-mailed back immediately and said while his official start date was still a week away, that he would begin looking into it so that he could give me an answer right away.
  • On July 25th, he e-mailed me and stated that the boys would be in the same classroom. Victory! 

The boys were over-joyed when I told them they’d get to stay together for kindergarten, and we happily went about the business of enrollment, school supply shopping, and talking about how awesome school would be.

Imagine my surprise when just 5 hours before meet the teacher night, and less than 48 hours before the first day of school I got a call from him, informing me that despite what he had previously told me, the boys would each be in a different classroom.

“You can’t do this two days before school starts! That’s not enough time to prep them, and it’s not what you said would happen three weeks ago.”

I think I said some form of that at least a half-dozen times that day, and he wasn’t listening. Gave me some line about how high-functioning the boys are, and that for the good of other kids in the classes, it was best to have one of each of them in the three kindergarten classes. I told him that while we’re glad they think so highly of our kids, the other kids in the classes are not our first priority…. our children and what we think is best for them is our first priority.

I was unsuccessful in reversing this last-minute decision, including a plea to the district superintendent, which was crushing. Meet the Teacher was uncomfortable and awkward, because I knew the teachers knew what was going on. Only one teacher thought to ask me how I was doing with this last minute decision, and she voiced her support for my wishes and assured me the boys would do fine. I was appreciative that she at least thought to speak to me about it!

Friday morning (the second day of school), I went to the school early to meet with the principal and three kindergarten teachers. The principal apologized for the poor handling of the situation, the teachers tried to assure me they’d be fine, and they allowed me a chance to speak. I think this was the first time what I was trying to say finally “clicked” with all of them, which makes me that much more sad that a sit-down like this didn’t just happen three weeks ago!

The gist of what I said in person that finally made my point heard?

Nick and I fully recognize that the boys eventually will be split up. The way schools are set up, they have to begin parting ways in middle school due to homerooms and classroom switching. We get that!  We understand they will have different interests and not always do things together. Right now one is really into sports, while another is really into music. We’re totally fine with one wanting piano lessons while the other wants to play soccer!

Children already have to grow up way too quickly, so why rush one more thing that will naturally happen eventually anyway? If we can give the boys the best, most confident, most comfortable start to school, why would we deny them that? The boys have always thrived together. We know they will likely do “ok” together, but we want more than “just ok”. We want the best experience! Why rock the boat, and risk emotional and academic damage by splitting them so young, when they do wonderfully together?

{8.18.13 7:02pm Edited to add: I did also tell them that had we been told three weeks ago that they’d be separated, I might have pushed back lightly just to see if I could get them to change their minds, but then we would have just dealt with the situation and helped the boys process it.}

All that being said, there as been one minor improvement to the boys’ day – on day 1 they were in the lunchroom at the same time, but not allowed to sit together (each class apparently has an assigned table). I asked the teachers if this would always be the case, because it bummed the boys out to not get to really “see” each other at lunch like they had been told. So the teachers agreed to let them try eating together on day 2 and see how it went. The boys were thrilled on Friday that they got to eat lunch together, and the teachers said it went well! Also, there is a chance things could still be shuffled around, so we’ll just have to see how things continue to play out.

How are the boys doing with all of this? They’re doing their very best to adapt and be brave. Ty seems to be struggling the most, at least he’s most vocal about it. I kind of had a hunch he’d be the one to struggle the most with it; he’s a quiet guy and I know his brothers just being in the same room gives him confidence. Friday afternoon I asked how his day was and do you know what he said?

“Well, I was pretty sad that I wasn’t with my brothers, but I decided to be brave and stick with Jesus.”

I couldn’t even verbally respond, because I knew I’d cry! Instead I just smiled at him and gave his knee a little squeeze. These boys are amazing, and I love them so much! I know they’ll probably be fine as is, but we want what’s best, and really, who can blame us for that?

Research Links:



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  • Libby

    I was frustrated until Ty’s response. How precious and such the perfect thing to do.ReplyCancel

  • Right, Libby?! His little comment on Friday afternoon just made my heart so much more calm and happy.ReplyCancel

  • I’m so sorry for how this situation came about…lots of very poor handling, to be sure. I hope it doesn’t overshadow the fun of starting school, though, and that the boys adjust smoothly.

    Thinking of you all, Helen!ReplyCancel

  • Monica S

    Loved Ty’s line: I decided to be brave and stick with Jesus! – I totally see him saying that! So sweet!

    I think you handled the whole situation well! Way to go momma! At least you made your voice heard, which is more then most people have the guts to do!ReplyCancel

  • Definitely handled very poorly, Helen. I’m keeping those precious little boys in my thoughts and prayers – as well as the entire family. Sending hugs to all! NellieReplyCancel

  • […] over 3 weeks of kindergarten, which means three weeks of the boys being in different classrooms. You’ll remember being split-up was not our desire or plan for the boys, but things out of our … A lot of people have been asking me how things are going with that, and in general, they’re […]ReplyCancel

  • […] year, for Kindergarten, they were split into 3 separate classes at the very last minute. It made for a rather un-fun start to the school […]ReplyCancel