All of my interests swirl around and involve my children in SOME way.
If your whole life is so focused on them, what happens when they leave and you and your dh have no common interests to pursue together? Dh and I enjoy triathlon and bike riding together. It's something we do on our own, but the boys were present at our first competition. They know about the kids triathlon offerings, but aren't interested as of now. But we talk with them about it, they see us training and very often, they come to the track with us to run or hang out and play.
I study for falconry on my own, but I get excited and share information with them. I show them bird cams all over the country and I often see hawks (and now they do) to point out here locally.
I'll be going to massage therapy school in Jan. Massage is something we've always shared as a family. Mark often pays the kids to rub his feet or shoulders after a hard day of work. I massage the kids, I tell them different reflexology points and they pick it up by MY love for the art of massage.
I share some of my writings with them, as interest allows. I share what I write here and at the message boards when they ask. I read articles or stories to them to get their opinions. Sometimes I ask for their input or opinion on a topic.
I use my herbs in cooking, I medicate my children with herbs...yet another passion that is automatically a part of their lives. They ask me frequently what herb would be useful for this or that, or if we could grow a specific one. Because I enjoy building and gardening, I have built them each their own garden bed. I offered it to them and if they didn't want to garden, I would have used the bed for my own seeds. They all took me up on the offer and will each be growing their own mini-garden!
Because of my interest in Medieval times, I took the kids to an SCA event. They LOVED it, and now we meet up with the local group occasionally and go to the local events. This is an example of our interests overlapping, there's something for each of us in the SCA!
As I pursue my art, the kids get really excited about all the materials and possibilities. They know quality materials from the cheap and aren't so easily satisfied by the kids art supplies many stores carry. Jared appreciates the professional colored pencils and we are currently trying to add professional grade oil pastels and pens to our collection.
And then, there are those things I was never remotely interested in, that I am learning about. Electricity, guitar, Japanese anime etc... I try to get interested in their interests, because it IS cool to learn new things. They've taught me a LOT. But that curiosity to learn new things is VITAL in my opinion, to helping our children be life long learners and seekers.
This is just a sampling of how a mothers interests can swirl and flow through the family and not take time away from them at all. On the contrary, it enhances our life immensely!
Posted on the unschooling discussion list, April 30, 2003.