Today we finished Vayeira with 8 yo. That was not trivial, as it was 7 pesukim, but he wanted to do it. We even squeezed in one relevant Rashi. He drew Rivkah's family tree out of his own free will. He also surprised me by knowing what a concubine is. He asked about Pey separating two pesukim. For his final wrap-up project, I told him to make a poster or a book of the 10 trials of Avraham. I told him that there are different opinions as to what those trials were, so he can make his own list. He went right to it, the prospect of siyum at Krispy Kreme leading the way. I am not sure why Krispy Kreme produces such intense feelings of happiness, but in our house, with this particular child, it works like a magic pill.
6 yo asked when he will start on chumash. I will have to think about this one. Ideally, I would like to wait another year at least. The pros are: he will finish some Lashon HaTorah and be more familiar with the language structure, making it easier to break words apart. He will also accumulate more vocabulary, so there will be more familiar words in every pasuk. He will also (hopefully) mature some, and will be less likely to hurl a notebook or a chumash across the room when frustrated. Also, his writing skills will improve, so he will be able to write down new words and translations. The cons: he is excited about it now, and might not be so excited when the skills will catch up. He might get an idea that chumash is something to do much later, when he is much older, and he will feel that he is still not old enough to do it. I have to think about all these factors...and I also have to consider how much time I can spend with each kid doing chumash. I find it to be an intense one-on-one experience. So far, I managed to wing it without too much prep, but that will not always be so. I much rather wait for chumash to be about learning the pesukim and the meaning instead of fighting about it. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of days when chumash does not go well, 8 yo does not want to do it, and it is a heavy experience that we just do. However, I fell that overall, we have more pleasant experiences than negative ones, and he does get excited about discovering new twists in the story, translations leaping out, asking Rashi's questions and drawing his connections.