Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Back in the mid-nineties, when my mom found out that homeschooling had just become legal in Michigan, she used this passage as the basis for religious exemption. It really makes sense to apply this passage to our children’s education. Our goal is to create a 24/7 learning environment for our children, and we want that environment to be filled with Scripture. How do we do that?
Torah is only the foundation
I like to think of the Bible as a house. Every house must have a solid foundation, a rock to build on, and Torah is the solid foundation of our house. This is where we find our beginnings, the definitions of right and wrong, the character of YHVH revealed. To get a complete picture of Scripture, we must start with Torah in our home and in our school day. However, a house has other parts as well, such as walls, windows, doors, rooms, and a roof. The other parts of Scripture are like these parts of a home. We have history, prophecy, personal experiences and prayers, the life of Yeshua, and the spread of the kingdom. All of these elements of Scripture need to be included in our school. Let’s keep that in mind as we look at practical ways to bring Torah into our school day.
I know of no better way to bring Scripture into schoolwork than through copywork. Writing rather than just reading has an amazing way of using so much more of our brain. We engage with the passage on different levels, which is why I encourage copywork for everyone, including moms. We find instructions for kings to write their own copy of the Torah in Deuteronomy.
And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.Deuteronomy 17:18-20
The king was given the key to a successful reign, a total immersion in the Torah, by writing it and reading it daily. We can set our children up for spiritual success as well, by using Scripture copywork in their daily schoolwork. Be sure to also discuss what they are copying, so that there is understanding with the reading and writing. This is best done in short, conversational bits, rather than lectures and sermons.
As we learned in Deuteronomy 6, putting physical writing of the Scriptures around our homes is very important. Through the years, I have set my children to making their own Scripture posters to hang on doors, down the hallway, etc. This is a great way to bring Scripture into your day.
Look for ”right and wrong” in your lessons
Schoolbooks with stories and the lives of real people from history offer a wonderful opportunity to bring Torah into your lessons. As you read about historical figures, help your children to look for choices and consequences. Look for the person’s actions, and compare those actions to Torah. Did they choose wisely? What happened as a result? What if they had obeyed YHVH and His instructions? This helps your children to see Torah, not just as a bunch of stories, but instructions for living.
You can use this same technique in literature class. As your children get to know fictional characters like Anne Shirley or Nancy Drew or Tom Sawyer, they can develop the habit of comparing these characters to Torah. Again, look at their choices and consequences. Look at how they grow and mature and learn to make better choices. Are they trying to live without God, or have they learned that having a relationship with the Father is essential?
Focus on action
Another great way to bring Torah into school is to focus on the actions found in Scripture. We adults often call them commands. We want our children to be changed as a result of teaching them to live a life of following Yeshua. We start by teaching correct “actions.” We can systematically teach that telling the truth is right, that honoring our parents is important, that following YHVH’s food rules is wise. Actions are simple for children to grasp and lay a foundation for deeper concepts as they grow older. Try teaching one command at a time and working on memorizing it throughout the week.
Torah Learning Made Simple
I hope these tips will help you to include Torah in your school day, no matter what curriculum or books you are using. Since Torah is the foundation of our Scripture home, it is imperative that we teach our children, not just on Shabbat, but throughout the week and throughout each day. If you need some help getting started, I created a program loaded with printables and tips to help you teach Torah to your children. It’s called “Torah Learning Made Simple,” and it gives you an easy to implement system to teach Torah in the ways I listed right in this post. There are also lots of bonuses included, like PDFs of all my Torah portion copywork books. You can get all the info here.