You see, kids are different. Odds are if you have kids, then you already know that. I knew it too. My second born is definitely different than this brother. His brother soaks up information like a sponge and in reality, he could probably teach himself even though he is only 7. My second born however, is more "normal". I don't mean this in a bad way. I just mean that he's like every other child out there. He also is not a "get it done and over with" "works well with textbooks" child. He's more of the creative, make learning fun type.
When we started homeschooling, I found that I needed to bump up my oldest son to the next grade for math and language arts. He couldn't stay in the "proper" grade level and continue to be challenged. He has excelled despite being a grade ahead. Since he was the oldest, it sort of set our homeschooling standard. I figured that we could at very least, try to have my second born follow in the oldest child's footsteps and if it didn't work then we'd adjust.
Kindergarten went alright. It's a hard year anyway in my opinion, as your child is learning how to read. However, my second born finished Kindergarten and seemed to be on course. We then started 1st grade last August. He started out okay. He wasn't getting straight A's like his brother (remember our oldest is an information sponge) but he was doing okay. However, by the end of his 1st semester it was clear he wasn't doing as well as he should or could be in math. He was surviving math (with C's) but he was not excelling and when you homeschool there's just really no good reason to not master your subjects before moving on.
As we took our mid-year break, I had a decision to make: do I continue having him work through the year and hope that it eventually "clicks"? Do I hold him back and put him in his "proper" grade level for math? Or do I have him repeat his first semester of math?
After much thought, I realized that we would have him repeat his first semester. I didn't want to hold him back completely. I know he is still technically a grade ahead in math but I feel like if I were to place him in his "proper" grade level for math, it would be too easy. However, pushing through math at the current pace was too fast for him. So we are repeating the first semester during this last half of the school year. We are going at an accelerated pace as some areas he has mastered; he just needs a bit more time in a few areas. At the pace, he is going he will finish his first and second semesters of math for this school year just a few weeks after school has "ended".
We are now over a month into our second semester and it has been going great. My second born is doing so much better in math and it's been great to see his math tests turn from once D's to B's or even A's! He clearly has a better understanding of math now! I think seeing the better grades and fewer mistakes has also been a benefit to my son's confidence. Despite our efforts to not compare him to his brother, we fear that he has always felt under his brother's shadow. Now that he is getting the hang of math and getting amazing grades, you can see how excited he gets. He no longer dreads or cries over school.
Homeschooling can be tough. There are lots of second guesses and doubts. The thing to remember is to take things one year at a time, one subject at a time, one CHILD at a time. Things might not go exactly as you planned. You might need to readjust how you homeschool occasionally but the thing that matters is that your child is learning and loves to learn.