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The Joys and Challenges of Homeschooling Twins
by Jenn from Mama Jenn
Homeschooling twins presents a unique set of joys and challenges. However, I believe the benefits and blessings definitely outweigh those challenges. As a mother of five including two sets of twin boys, my greatest joy in homeschooling is seeing them learn together. They are each other’s best friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Jennifer (aka Mama Jenn) is a happily married, Christian, homeschooling mother of five including one princess and two sets of twin boys! She has a BA degree in Mathematics and holds a masters degree in Education. A former high school math teacher, she now uses her education background to teach her own children! In her spare time Jennifer blogs at Mama Jenn, which is her main blog. She also runs the following sites: Education Cubes, featuring customizable learning blocks; The Homeschool Resource List, a collection of free online resources; The “Brown Like Me” Book Review, a showcase of books featuring “brown” characters, and The Living Math Book List, a collection of living math books.
Teaching Twins at Home
by Ticia of Adventures in Mommydom
When the sonogram technician first told me I was having twins, I thought he was kidding. He had to repeat it about 5 more times before I believed him.
I think my having twins is proof God has a sense of humor. I have never been able to tell twins apart, it doesn’t matter how different they look, I can’t do it. Now I have twins, and I routinely get them mixed up.
But there are so many joys in having twins. My boys always have their best friend right there with them. I don’t have to worry about entertaining them because they will come up with something to entertain themselves. I may not be thrilled with their entertainment or it may get my heart rate up when I’m taking them to the ER, but they can always entertain themselves.
Being the mother of twin boys means I keep a large supply of band-aids on hand, because you never know when the BEST thing in the world will be to hit each other with a sharp stick.
It also means I get jump hugs. What’s that you say? It’s something they invented, where they suddenly jump at you from a piece of furniture or the stairs yelling “JUMP HUG!” and expect you to catch them as they hug you. We haven’t broken any bones yet.
When I say I’m homeschooling and people find out I have twins they automatically think, “Oh good, you can teach them the same thing at the same time.”
That’s not true. But, they’re the same age, you might argue. That is true, but they are not the same person. “Batman,” my younger twin (all of two minutes), is great at all things physical, he’s great at throwing things, can go somewhere once and direct you there the next time. However, Batman struggles with reading. He’s not terrible at it, but it doesn’t come naturally to him.
His brother, Superman, had a sudden epiphany a few months ago in reading. He was suddenly zooming ahead of his brother and at this time is over 20 lessons ahead of his brother. I don’t know why, it’s not like they’re horribly different in personality.
I struggled with that at first. I wanted it to be easy and be able to teach them both reading at the same time, that would save me 20 or 30 minutes of lesson time if they could be together, and they could get the reinforcement of being together. But, it would have been holding Superman back or pushing Batman and frustrating him.
So I split them up. It was the best thing I ever did. They’re both happier now, there’s no unspoken competition going on during reading lessons. There’s no comparison. They’re happy.
I learned, they don’t have to be doing the same thing for them both to be learning a lot.
One is going a bit slower and one of them is sprinting ahead in reading.
And that’s okay, that’s why we’re homeschooling, so I can give them an individual education. Superman can sprint through his reading lessons and can get tips from his brother on how to hit a ball.
Batman can direct me to the Children’s Museum, because I have no sense of direction and slowly work on his reading
Now there are some challenges every now and then in school work. Like when they decided to impersonate each other. Thankfully they’re only seven, and their acting skills aren’t all that good. I was able to get their voices right. Or their intense dislike of writing. Now their sister…… She’ll write you a small novel.
Ticia writes at Adventures in Mommydom where she shares the learning adventures of their family as they go through life with three young kids.
Homeschooling Our Twins
by Mary of Really.Truly.
I never imagined I would be the mom to twin boys, or that I’d be homeschooling. Through God’s amazing grace, I am doing both.
During the 10 years I’ve been parenting my twins and the 5 years we have been homeschooling, I’ve learned that both parenting and homeschooling bring daily joy as well as daily challenges. I’ve often heard that it must be so easy homeschooling twins. It’s not as easy as you might expect.
Like any family with multiple children being homeschooled at the same time, I try to remain flexible, patient and aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each child. There are some specific obstacles that twins face. At times I experience people wanting to treat each of the boys as equals; equal in their likes and dislikes, creative ability, athletic interests and learning ability. They are sometimes treated so similarly, that people even see them as one person. For example they may get one shared gift at Christmas or a birthday. And it is common for people to refer to them as “the twins” rather than by their individual names.
Since their birth, I’ve be very deliberate to treat them as individuals, never dressing them alike unless they request it, of course, which often happened when they were younger. I have always used the same curriculum with my twins, but that alone can cause problems. If one child is not “getting it” the way his sibling is, he can feel very discouraged. On the other hand, sharing a curriculum can motivate him to work harder because he wants to keep up with his sibling. It can get a bit complicated, but understanding how our twins groove, how they react, and what motivates them has been a big help.
When they were young, they enjoyed being similar, but as they have gotten older, the individual in each child has come rushing out. Thankfully, through all their changes they remain each other’s best friend. They can be conflicted about this at times, wanting to be similar, but wanting to be seen as individuals. If one expresses an interest or particular competency with a subject or activity, the other will often times want to participate as well even if it’s not their true interest or talent. Often the one without the “natural” capacity can become frustrated or discouraged that he cannot “be as good as his brother.” So one of the challenges of having twin sons is to keep each boy encouraged that he does not have to be like his brother and that he does not have to be as good as him in a particular talent or subject.
There are times that the desire to be like his brother benefits me as their teacher. If one child does not want to work on a particular lesson, watching his brother eagerly complete this same lesson encourages the other twin to do the same. Often I am able to just sit back and let this happen without coaxing. One child may ask “Well, what did he do?” Sharing that his brother completed the task is enough motivation for the other twin to give it his best effort.
There are other times when I feel like the ball in a tennis match. Because my twins are working on the same lessons, I find myself bouncing back and forth when questions come at the same time. Through these few years that we have been homeschooling, we’ve thankfully fallen into our own rhythm and have found our own personal way to remedy this.
Patience, for me, is key. The thing about patience is that you never believe you have it until you are forced to use it. From their infancy, they have had to learn patience, for example while waiting for their turn at a feeding. I have had to learn my own patience in so many mommy ways.
In many ways, homeschooling twins is no different than homeschooling multiple aged children. The biggest lesson I have learned from being a homeschooling mom to twins is that though they may look alike, they are different. It’s taught me that one specific way to teach can bring about two very different results based on the child’s personality or learning ability. Realizing this fact has given me freedom as a mom. It has taught me to adapt and modify when necessary and to be flexible. From my experience, twins have an amazing and unique bond. I feel filled with joy as I’m able to watch that bond grow and change.
Mary is the mom to twin boys and wife to their amazing Dad. Learning more about the Lord, and homeschooling with each day. Always on a quest to be organized, yet feeling hopelessly unorganized. Lover of coffee, knee high boots,old jeans, chocolate….and most importantly, grace. Visit Mary at Really.Truly.
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