Educating During Adolescence


We mentioned that a child should not begin school until the age of six. But even before the age of six a child should not be abandoned. The Sefer Ha-Chinuch (Mitzvah #419) writes that when the child begins to talk, we teach him the verse "Torah Tziva Lanu Moshe" and the first sentence of the Shema, and teach other verses little-by-little.
The verses of the Torah are not only sustenance for the intellect: they are primarily for the soul. They help the soul grow.
But, all-in-all, it must be done without pressure. The Sefer Ha-Chinuch, whose author is unknown (some say it is Rabbi Aharon of Barcelona), continues that one should not overburden a child in learning since his limbs and heart are gentle. When he grows and strengthens himself, physically and spiritually, he will be able to withstand the rigors of learning.
This is the general principle that during adolescence: the foundation must be laid with love and pleasantness, without coercion, in order to awaken his desire to learn.