We’d like to show you what a typical study of the weekly Torah portion looks like in our home.
- First, if we haven’t already done so, we start our day with prayer.
- Now we work on learning the week’s memory verse. You can read some of our methods below.
- Dad, Mom, or an older student, then reads the day’s Torah portion aloud. You may use the Bible translation of your choice.
- Often we will suggest discussion questions and activities for you to do. Please feel free to add to or subtract from our suggestions, depending on the needs and interests of your family, always listening to the leading of the Spirit.
- Twice each week, we like to have a “Bible Drill.” This is a game in which children race each other to find passages of Scripture in their own Bibles. We urge you to play this game often so your children will gain the essential skill of finding passages in God’s Word quickly! You might want to wait until your children are old enough to read fairly well on their own (typically 2nd or 3rd grade). At this age, we purchase a good-quality Bible for our children, one which lies flat when opened.
To Have a Bible Drill:
- Have each child raise his Bible in the air, totally extending his arm. (It’s only fair.) Have him hold his Bible by the back binding, with no fingers poking into the pages to keep his place for him.
- Mom announces the reference to be found (for instance, “Genesis 1:1”).
- The children then repeat the reference orally, so that Mom is sure everyone knows where to go and is listening.
- Mom shouts, “Go!”
- At this point, each child pulls his Bible down and begins searching for the Scripture reference as quickly as possible.
- The first child to find the reference stands. He then reads it out loud.
If one child always wins, simply because he is older, take heart! The less-experienced children will quickly improve with frequent practice and a good dose of healthy competition. However, you can add Dad to the game in the evenings for extra spice!
- At the end of each week, our notes suggest that your children write in their journals. Our children each have a spiral or 3-ring notebook that is their Bible Journal. Once a week, they review what they’ve learned that week by telling about it in their journal. Young ones might draw a picture and have Mom write about it below. They might copy their memory verse. Older ones might tell what they’ve learned in their private Bible reading or copywork time. This journal will not only provide a record of their education; it will also become a priceless treasure that helps to cement God’s truth in their hearts.
- Please be open to the Holy Spirit as you work through His Torah portions. Always be ready to discuss important concepts with your children and answer their questions. We have added notes and teaching ideas for some of the lessons but not all. (Note: these are all optional and will vary in difficulty). If you come up with additional learning ideas, record them so that you’ll remember them next time you cover this material. Ask YHWH to make His Torah meaningful to each of your children.
Hints for Memorizing Scripture
Our tips for memorizing verses each day are based on the following principles:
- It’s easier to memorize a verse if you know what it means. That’s why we spend the first day of each week talking about what the verse means. Your children will illustrate the verse also, so you’ll know from their pictures if they truly understand it.
- It’s easier to memorize a verse if the verse is meaningful to you. Your job as mom is to help your children relate the verse to their own lives. What promise does it make, what advice should they follow, what sin will it help them overcome? Try to talk about the verse at other times during the day, too. Ask the Holy Spirit to apply it to all of your lives.
- It’s easier to memorize a verse if you use many of your senses to learn it. We use our eyes when we look at a verse visual, we use our arms and legs when we make up motions, we use our ears when we hear each other saying it together, and occasionally a verse is just the right kind to taste or smell something.
- It’s easier to memorize a verse if you repeat it many, many times. That’s why you should make it your goal to have everyone say the verse out loud at least five times each day. We’ll help you come up with ways to keep it from being boring, but you can always try shouting, whispering, singing, standing, marching, lying down, writing, drawing, telling it to Dad, and calling Grandma.
- It’s easier to memorize a verse if you say it with a “sing-songy” voice. Kids love this! For instance, try saying this verse, emphasizing the italicized words:
Psalm One-nineteen Eleven
Thy word have I hid in my heart,
That I might not sin against thee.
Psalm One-nineteen Eleven
Each day, recite the verse (including reference) as a group five times. As the week progresses, allow the children to say it more and more without dependence on your voice, until they can say it independently by the end of the week.
If you’re learning an extended passage of Scripture over many weeks, try to say the entire passage you’ve learned thus far at least once a day. For instance, if you’re learning Deuteronomy 6:4-9 but you’re only on verse 7 this week, you would review verses 4-7 once a day.
As a general rule, we’ll stick to the following schedule:
Day 1 – Discuss what a verse means and illustrate it. Give your children sheets of paper, and ask them to illustrate the verse. Later, you can use these drawings to review verses you’ve already memorized. (Insert these papers into plastic sheet protectors and place in a notebook.)
Day 2 – Copy the verse. For young writers, give them the copywork sheet we have provided. Preschool children will not write the verse, but you may want to have them point to letters or numbers in the verse. Older children may copy the verse directly from their Bible into a notebook.
Day 3 – Make up motions. Obviously, some verses will be easier to come up with motions for than others, but you’ll be surprised how creative your kids can be! You’ll probably notice that they will use motions when they say it the rest of the week as well. That’s fine. Note: If it seems impossible to come up with motions, try stomping your feet in rhythm, clapping, or marching around the kitchen table as you say it – anything to get you up and moving!
Day 4 – Today is a good day for contests, since by now your kids should have nearly memorized the verse. “Everyone with blue eyes, say the verse.” “Everyone wearing green, say the verse.” Boys against girls, younger versus older, etc.
Day 5 – Today, have each child say it individually. After saying the verse several times as a group, I often start with the oldest child so that the youngest ones can hear it a few more times. I also “help” the younger ones more than I do the older ones, whom I expect to say it perfectly. You may wish to have a “verse recital” on Erev Shabbat, where the kids can show Dad how well they’ve learned their verse. You could also exhibit their drawings and writings. Make it memorable!
All of the above hints are helpful for other types of memorization as well, such as the Books of the Bible, or memory work in other subjects.
About Torah Foundations
Torah Foundations is copyright 2013 by Anne Elliott
This curriculum is only the first in a series of three. Nakh Foundations covers selected readings from Joshua to Malachi. Foundations of the Apostolic Scriptures covers selected readings from Matthew to Revelation.
All rights reserved. No part of this curriculum may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. You do have permission to photocopy the curriculum for your own personal use. You may select individual pages to copy, or you may copy the entire curriculum! It is up to you how much of the information you want to copy and for how many children in your family you want to use it. You can copy this curriculum for use in your immediate family only; redistributing the book to other families is strictly prohibited.
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).
Published by Foundations Press
The Golden Rule of Interpretation
“When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate otherwise.” — D.L. Cooper