School is back in session. My lesson plans are ready (at least in my head if not completely on paper). Notebooks and supplies are clean and ready for a fresh start (well, mostly clean). The long, lazy days of summer are becoming more intentional days of routine (we’re slowly working on it). OK, so maybe we are not completely ready. But regardless…

School in my home is back in session, and I am dreaming of a fantastic school year with my children. Plans are ready for math, reading, writing, field trips, journaling, and art projects. Daily checklists, reading lists, and curriculum lists stand ready for use. Yet even if we accomplish everything in the plan (for the first time ever!), the school year could still be miserable for all of us.

A successful school year is more about the people than the plan. As the lead learner in my homeschool, I set the tone for us all. An excellent school year depends on who I am as Mom moment by moment in my time with my children. 

Your children may or may not remember an A+ on a test this year. But they certainly will remember the moments that you are an A+ mom.

Don’t be fooled. This A+ is not about perfection. This A+ is about intentionally focusing on your children in the little moments of your days together. It is about remembering your people in the midst of your plan.

As you live out your school days, consider the following questions to remember to focus on the people, who you dearly love, who are right in front of you.

Perhaps the best question is:

How would your children answer these questions for you?

Am I Available?

Availablesuitable or ready for use; of use or service; readily obtainable; accessible

My life is invested in serving my children. Day after day, I cook for them, clean for them, wash laundry for them, teach them. But how am I serving their hearts? I also serve by listening, hugging, waiting, enjoying their interests. I claim that my children are my top priority during the day while my husband is at work. For that priority to be reality, my time must reflect it. Set aside time for fun together. Stop washing dishes to give a hug. Put down the phone.

How can you be available to serve your children’s hearts today?

Am I Approachable?

Approachable – capable of being approached; easy to meet, know, talk with

Oh, how often the response I give my children is wait a minute, no, just a second, or not now. They know very well that my minute is not a minute, nor is my second a second. My default answer is “no” rather than “yes”. What about you? Eventually, our children will stop asking us to look at their drawings, watch their bike tricks, listen to their jokes. They will give up if we are not approachable. I expect you, like me, want it to be easy for your children to talk with you. We must fight our natural tendencies to give them intentional yes responses.

When your children approach you, can they be confident of a receptive response?

Am I Attentive?

Attentive – characterized by or giving attention; observant; thoughtful of others; considerate; polite; courteous

I teach my children to be courteous to people – look people in the eye, stop speaking long enough to listen. Am I giving them a model of what I expect from them? In a busy world, our tendency to be distracted is no surprise. To be attentive, we must actively fight the temptation to be distracted. Put down the phone. Set boundaries for our use of social media. Set aside the task list. If we are not intentional, then they will view us as indifferent, apathetic, unconcerned – all antonyms of attentive. We must train ourselves. We must train ourselves to get on our child’s level, look directly in their eyes, and stop speaking long enough to listen.

Are you truly considerate of your children, setting aside your agenda to be attentive to them?

Am I Affirming?

Affirming – to state or assert positively; maintain as true; to confirm or ratify; uphold; support

From a young age, our children will hear lies from the enemy of their souls. The only counter-attack is the Word of God. But they are still learning to apply God’s Word in real life. Moms, they need us to affirm the Truth of who they are. Our children are wonderfully made in the image of God Himself. Our children are loved by the Creator of the universe. Our children have so much worth that Jesus sacrificed Himself to have an eternal relationship with them. This is the truth we must affirm for them.

Do you affirm the truth of who your child is, and do you speak that truth to them?

Am I Alert?

Alerthaving knowledge; conscious; cognizant; informed; being fully aware

There is an enemy seeking to steal, kill, and destroy in our children’s lives. We must be aware of the reality that there is a spiritual lion prowling in our homes and always be alert to his schemes. Fear is not simply fear. It is an attempt to steal the peace Jesus wants to give your child. Neither is disobedience a simple childhood problem. It is the root of a lifetime of rebellion. Our children need to learn to recognize temptation and know that disobedience is a choice. Moms, they need us to be alert so we can teach them the spiritual truth of their lives.

Are you alert to the spiritual battle that wages daily behind the scenes in your home?

Am I an Ally?

Allya person, group, or nation associated with another for a common cause or purpose

I must admit that I am often an adversary to my children. I would prefer to not be honest with you on this. I didn’t know I could yell at people until I had children. I am all too often selfish, grouchy, and critical with these young people I love so dearly. But my battle is not against flesh and blood, especially my own flesh and blood. They need confidence that I am on their side! What determines whether they see me as friend or foe, ally or adversary? My words and actions. I pray each morning that God will set a guard over my mouth, because I know my weakness. We have an enemy seeking to destroy our homes, and our kids need us as their allies.

What verdict do your words and actions pronounce: adversary or ally?

This school year, my family will tackle our list of plans for curriculum and routine. I’m sure you will too. But our success will come when we focus on the people more than the plan. Asking ourselves these hard questions will produce an A+ attitude that will cultivate a heart that is available, approachable, attentive, affirming, alert.

As we focus on being our children’s allies, we will be A+ moms who lead our families into an A+ school year.