This is our 18th year as a homeschooling family. If all goes as planned and we continue until our youngest graduates high school, I will be a homeschooling mother for 31 consecutive years. That used to make me tired just thinking about it. Honestly, I spent most of the past three years in a state of serious burnout, until this past year.

Everything changed when I rediscovered the excitement of educating myself and others.

It’s difficult to be an effective teacher—and if you’re a homeschool mom, you’re a teacher—in an intellectual vacuum. I’m not sure what percentage of perspiration versus inspiration is involved in teaching, but it definitely requires both.

I love reading blogs; studying photography both hands-on and from books and websites; and working through computer program tutorials; but none of them can replace sitting down with a book of literature, history, or other academic interest. Feeding your own brain can help stave off burnout.

When you get excited about learning and share it with your children, you can challenge and inspire each other.

I’ve thought a lot lately about my favorite teachers from school and what made them special to me. Often, it wasn’t that the subject they taught was my favorite, instead it was the passion and enthusiasm with which they taught it.

You have the opportunity to be that kind of influence on your own children and any others you teach in co-op or other homeschool classes. I encourage you to take the time to educate yourself, too; it will make you a better teacher to them.

[I have been greatly inspired in by Echo in Celebration: A Call to Home-Centered Education by Leigh Bortins; the ebook can be downloaded free here. This post originally appeared at The Homeschool Post.]

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