My girls are 6 years old and have started 1st Grade in September. I had this fabulous idea that I was going to split them up this year. We found that in Kindergarten we wanted them to be together because this was their first big venture into school and they truly are each others comfort. What I found was that they actually had challenges that a child without their sibling in the same class would not have. For example, when they would come home, instead of hearing how math went or coloring...I would hear that "sister played with MacKenzie and MacKenzie didn't want to play with me." I have always told my girls that they don't have to have the same friends...but their friends do have to be nice to their sister. And this was a challenge that I didn't think my girls needed and was probably going to get a lot worse as they got older if I kept them in the same class.
So this year, we decided to go with separate teachers. On the first day, my girls loved it. I was a little concerned however, and I say this as humble as I can, but my girls are very advanced. I owe that to being able to stay at home with them for the first 3 years of their lives. But an example is that when they were starting Kindergarten, they were already reading chapter books on their own. They were later tested in Kindergarten to find out they were reading at close to a 3rd grade level. They were able to add double digit numbers in their heads, etc. So going in to first grade was hard for me because I actually had to sit down the their Kindergarten teacher at the end of the year with the discussion of letting them skip 1st and go straight in to 2nd. I did see value in that, however their group of students they're in school with is SUCH a great group of kids, with excellent, very involved parents, that I decided to let them stay in 1st. Also, to think that they could be on the lower end of 2nd grade and the top end of 1st grade, I would rather that. There were many things to take in to consideration in making this decision...and as a mom, you hope it will be the right one and they won't need therapy later on because of it.
So they started school and I knew just from the "Back to school" night that Erynn's teacher was definitely going to challenger her, but more importantly he identified right away how bright she was. Emilie's teacher on the other hand had not, Concern#1. When talking to Emilie's teacher after "Back to school" night to find out how she is going to challenge Emilie, she really didn't know and was having Emilie read and participate at the rest of the classes level, Concern #2.
After talking to a couple of parents whom I trust, who have had their children with the same teach as Emilie, I learned very quickly that this was going to be a hyped up Kindergarten and now I was slightly freaking out! What the heck was I gonna do...either have Emilie go in to the same class as Erynn and have to put up with the challenges that would bring. Or to have her go in to another class. I started talking to older parents about the other teachers and learned that there was one particular teacher who would do very well with Emilie being advanced and had extra room in her class.
That day I went to talk to the principal and she and I have been friends for years so I felt comfortable with coming to her about this. She totally understood and was going to look in to it.
During the time that she looked in to it, I volunteered in Emilie's class and that was all it took to go from asking to have her switched to telling them that I needed her to be switched. Don't get me wrong, we absolutely LOVE the other teacher. She is the nicest person and was so good to Emilie. However she cannot control the level that the kids are at in her class and Emilie was way way advanced compared to all the other kids. Her teacher totally understood where we were coming from.
So a month in to school, Emilie switches classes and I have started volunteering in that class. I feel much better about this class. There are two other kids in the class that are closer to Emilie's reading level and I think she is being challenged...at least a little more than she was. I make sure to continue challenging her at home and making sure that she is not getting bored.
The reason for my writing about this today is because today is the first parent teacher conferences...I am about to go to them. I am excited to hear what Emilie's teacher has to say about her. And what I have learned by volunteering in each girls class once a week is that Erynn's teacher is seriously one of the best teachers I have ever seen. So here comes the mom guilt...is this going to continue all the way up because honestly, as moms we put enough pressure on ourselves to then add this. My guilt is that one of my girls might be getting a better education than the other one. I see the long term effects and keep let my mind snowball. :) We may be looking at private school by 4th grade...we'll see.
Have a great day!