Our girl/boy twins turned nine in year three. We had kept them back a year (they did two years of kindy/pre-school) as they were end of June babies. In Queensland the cut off is 30 June. If they hadn’t had been born prematurely, they would have been going to school the following year, so we decided to keep them back. So far, I don’t regret holding them back at all.
To separate twins at school or not?
Our twins were in the same class in Prep and Year One at school.
You can read about their first year of school HERE.
We were going to split them in Year Two, however our teacher said that there was absolutely no reason to split them as far as their school work and school relationships went. So why put the extra pressure on myself to have them in separate classes and have to remember two different library days, two different swimming days etc. She had two children of her own (two years apart). She said if she had a choice hers would be in the same class purely to cut down on the mental load.
My partner had been away working FIFO for the second half of Year One. We weren’t sure what was happening with his job for the following year. So we decided to keep them together to make MY life easier.
Twins in Year Two
Year Two, however, was not a good year for us. We had a combination of teachers. Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL about women returning to the workforce. However, this particular combination sadly just didn’t work for our twins. They just couldn’t engage with them. So much so that I was asked to get ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) testing for one, and educational assessments done for both of them.
We started seeing an educational psychologist and the school also did a raft of tests. It turned out that my girl twin was smack bang average. However, my boy twin was gifted in some areas but below average in others due to working memory issues. ADHD and ODD were both ruled out. Admittedly he did score highly on some of the testing, but when doing face to face testing, she ruled it out immediately.
The kids went from “B” grades in Year Two to “C” and even “D” grades in some classes in Year Three.
Twins in Year Three
I was determined to start Year Three off on the right foot. We had received an unofficial diagnosis from the private educational psychologist we engaged in Year Two that they were both dyslexic. I decided to pay a veritable fortune (with a three month waiting list) to get them both officially tested for dyslexia and dyscalculia. We just snuck in the testing by literally 24 hours before COVID-19 hit and they stopped all testing for three months.
Due to their prematurity and compromised immune systems we were advised by medical professionals to withdraw them from school ASAP, so we started remote learning several weeks before it was mandated.
During this time I realised just how far behind they had fallen in Year Two.
Bless them though, they did every single thing I asked of them during our remote learning period, and with almost no pushback or fuss. There was certainly no sign of ODD in my classroom.
Twins diagnosed with Dyslexia
Towards the end of our remote learning phase we had a telehealth appointment with the psychologist who had tested them. And, even though I was expecting it, the news that they were dyslexic was still soul crushing. The testing also indicated that for some areas they were at least a year behind where they should be.
Making the decision to engage a Tutor
I decided that 2020 was the year we would engage a tutor to help.
I have to confess, I did personally feel like I had failed them. Even though they excelled with my 100% dedicated remote learning, they were still so far behind. I was disappointed that I didn’t realise how far behind they had fallen in Year Two. For a brief moment I actually considered registering them for full time home schooling or distance education. But then realised this was not sustainable for our family. So we decided that we would engage a tutor to try to catch them up.
My main criteria when looking for a tutor was to find someone who could not only teach them, but also boost their confidence. I had seen during my stint doing remote learning with them that their confidence had taken a battering. Which in itself was a barrier to their learning.
Ideally, I would have liked a tutor that came to the house. Our tutor did come to our house to start with, which was fabulous (she had an immunocompromised partner and didn’t want to risk having kids in the house during COVID). And I must say, having a tutor that comes to you, like A Team Tuition, is so much more convenient!
Twins and Tutoring – together or separate?
Once the decision to engage a tutor for them was made the next step was the hard task of finding a tutor. When considering twins and tutoring, you also need to decide if they should be tutored together, or separately. Even though they were both almost exactly the same academically, and they were in the same class, they both had their own little idiosyncrasies.
Tutoring twins together
After speaking to several tutors we finally decided on one. We also decided to go in guns blazing and start with two sessions each a week . We also decided to have them tutored at the same time. Again moreso for convenience. Due to it already being the middle of term two she was all booked up after school, so it would mean taking them out of school for at least one of the sessions. I literally didn’t have time to drive them to and from 4 sessions a week. Hence we decided to trial having them tutored together.
As my twins are girl/boy and are not disruptive to each other in the class I was not too concerned about having them together. It would be different, no doubt, if they were disruptive to each other, or had different needs etc.
Tutoring twins separately
We did about three weeks (twice a week) before the tutor called me and asked if we could do separate sessions. With great trepidation (and a lot of stress about how we would logistically mange this) I agreed. After a bit of tooing and foing, we decided to drop their session back to 45 minutes each, rather than an hour and do them back to back. This also helps cut the cost a bit.
Surprisingly this has worked really well. I collect them both from school, and off we go. While one is in with the tutor I spend one on one time with the other, which is lovely.
Sometimes we just go to the local park and have a play. Other times we do their class homework, read books, visit an op shop or even go and get a cold drink together. As you know, one on one time is so rare with multiples, so I feel this is a silver lining to having them in separate tutor sessions.
I also feel that due to the fact they are in the same class at school its nice for them to have some one on one academic attention.
Twins and Tutoring – is it worth it?
I’m not going to lie……tutoring is expensive. However, for us, we have decided it is worth it.
Last week I asked them both individually if they felt that the tutoring was helping them in the classroom. Both emphatically said YES. Which was a relief!
As you do when trying to get information out of your children I questioned them a bit more. Both individually told me that they use their tutors techniques in the classroom and that they feel more confident. My son actually told me that he helped one of his friends understand something using the tutors methodology, which blew me away. And my daughter informed me she was going to get a good mark this term! I love how confident that tutoring has made them.