One of these things is not like the other, one of these things is kind of the same. - Sesame Street song
I think the tendency is there to compare your children. Not saying we favorite or anything, just saying they do things differently. This is all good. We like different. We embrace change.
I have to be careful though to contrast their ages and apply that to their work. Especially with the 4th grader. I love school and tend to want to have her work work work because there's so much to do, so much to learn. But being the age she is, she's not going to sit for a straight hour or hour and a half doing math. As you get older, you forget about the intrinsic value of recess. A release from the rigors of work, even if it may be fun; to run free, do what you want, feel what you want to feel. The key is finding the balance between lots of recess and getting all the work done. Sometimes there can be problems getting focused again after recess.
On the other end of the spectrum, the teen is driven. As I've said before, she doesn't like to 'not' finish a lesson after she has started it. We try to stick to a certain amount of time per subject per day, just to get it all in. I think in the back of her head she feels dumb although she knows she is smart (heck! She got 6 grades in the A range, and 1 B last year!) It probably stems from some subjects tend to scramble her brain in how she learns them. But then we find the niche in learning them and she gets it. But the failures and missed math problems plague her. I also think she has a tendency to compare herself to other kids her age in public school. She tells me 'Whoziwhaty is in 10th grade and already doing Algebra 2 and I'm only on Geometry'. I can't help that. We did math every year. This is where Geometry fell for us. I don't know how to get her to quit comparing. She has pushed aside all the 'fun' that school can be.
Here's a little comparing and contrasting of my kids:
Both love Art (drawing, painting, new product projects)
Both love to procrastinate (sometimes)
Both love to read
Both love Science
Both love new school supplies (have you seen anyone get excited about pencils?!)
Both love to eat/snack (don't we all?! lol)
Teen loves English, little one not so much
Little one loves Math, teen abhors it
Little one likes to invent for fun, teen prefers spelling/vocab challenges
Teen likes order, Little one likes variety
I think I have my hands full.