I have gotten a ton of questions about kindergarten so I thought I would write up some explanations of some decisions and logistics. If you're not interested in reading about our decision to separate them or year-round kindergarten, skip this post! If you have more questions, post them in the comments and I'll answer.
Separating the boys
In our ideal situation, we would have separated the boys when they were 3. They are not dependent on one another, but we do feel that them being together prevents them from developing particular skills on their own.
To prepare for this, we picked a day care that had multiple rooms for every age. Unfortunately by the time our boys got to the 3s and 4s rooms, the rooms had different curriculums. We (and the director) did not feel it was fair to give one kid a more advanced curriculum since they are twins so we kept them together. Rather than move them to a new day care to be separated, we decided to keep them at a place we know they are loved and delay the separation until kindergarten.
We talk ALL THE TIME about the upcoming separation, strongly emphasizing the positives. We believe it will be great for Nate and Alex to be apart for many reasons. Our strongest reason is that we think it will be good for other people to stop thinking of them as "Nate and Alex." We also think it will help stop people from comparing them directly so much. And it will be good to have different sets of homework. Right now, them having the same homework is difficult to manage because they overhear each other and end up chatting with each other about it.
Even though we talk about the positives, we also listen to the boys' worries and concerns. We are preparing for a transition period. By the time they leave their school, they will have been there for 59 months of the 62 they've been alive! It will be a HUGE change just to go to a new school and then to also be separated will add even more change. Even though they'll be apart at school, they will still ride the school bus together, see each other at recess, see each other in the cafeteria, and be together the 16 hours they're not in school
Overall, when Jon and I talk about our "jobs" as parents, we think of our role as helping our children grow into independent, self-sufficient people. To us, separating them is part of the job, and it seems most logical to do it when they go to kindergarten and everyone is starting fresh and making new friends.
Wake County has multiple choices for public school options. We have traditional calendar schools (off in summers), magnet schools, and year-round calendar schools. When we bought our new house, we narrowed our search down to specific schools in Cary. Our new neighborhood school is a year-round calendar school.
Some parents may not like this, but as a family with two working parents, we are thrilled with the idea of a year-round schedule. The boys will go to school for 9 weeks then have 3-4 weeks off for four quarters. It is much easier for us to get a week of vacation four times a year instead of trying to take extended time off in the summer.
In the year-round calendar, there are four different schedules. They are staggered so there are only 3 tracks in session at a time. The idea is that you can fit more students into a school by utilizing the school 12 months of the year instead of 9.
We got notice this week that we got our preferred track, Track 1. The boys will be "tracked out" (on vacation) for the months of March, June, September, and December every year. We already have a beach vacation planned for their first track out in September, a great way to celebrate their entry into kindergarten!
While we will take some time off at each track, they will go to day camps the rest of the time. Since our county has many year-round schools, there are a lot of options for camps for tracked-out kids.
Was this helpful? And do you have other questions?