This is My Home, This is My School – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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jonathan-bean-this-is-my-homeTitle: This is My Home, This is My School

Author & Illustrator: Jonathan Bean

Publisher: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 2015

Themes: Homeschooling, family life, concept book

Ages: 3-7


This is my home.            

And this is my school.


Drawing from his own childhood experiences, Jonathan Bean takes the autobiographically inspired family he introduced in Building Our House through the special rhythms and routines of a homeschooling day. For young Jonathan and his sisters, Mom is the teacher and a whole lot more, and Dad is the best substitute any kid could want. From math, science, and field trips to recess, show-and-tell, and art, a school day with this intrepid, inventive family will seem both completely familiar and totally unique. (Goodreads)


Why I like this book:

I love the art work in this book. Bean does use his characteristic bright and loose watercolor brushstrokes overflowing outside the pen-and-ink lines. But the busy pages and seeming chaos feels fully intentional for this book. The house is a bit chaotic, but that’s because learning is messy. The pictures made me laugh and I spent time checking out what every sibling was up to.  There is a sense of a very cohesive family full of curiosity and passion, and I am wondering if Mr and Mrs bean are up for adult adoption!! 🙂

The humor and action are evident on every page from the “crabby cafeteria lady” (Mom having a bad day) and “the school bully” (their dog), to the “substitute teacher” (Dad),. Dinner’s show-and-tell is packed with spunk and interaction and an ambiance of inclusiveness, as are their field trips in the old minivan.

I think this is a highly warm and positive representation of home schooling, one which we rarely see in picture books. Recommended for kids being schooled in whatever way.

Jonathan Bean kindly shared some of his early sketches for this picture book.


The book includes an author’s note, along with pictures of Jonathan Bean and his siblings home schooling. He says, “Home and work, work and school, school and home were all seamlessly connected by my parents’ curiosity to learn and teach. … no moment, whether at desk, dinner table, stream, play, or work was too insignificant to be scavenged for something to learn.”

Look at similarities between home schooling and traditional schooling.

What would you enjoy about home schooling? What do you think you wouldn’t like?

Check out the interview I did with the author/illustrator here a couple of days ago.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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7 Responses to This is My Home, This is My School – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. This certainly is a treasure for families. I have not see a book on homeschooling. Love your teacher observation that “learning is messy.” I love the illustrations!

    • Joanna says:

      Yes, and I think many people have preconceived ideas about homeschooling, so I like the idea of a picture book introducing this subject.

  2. Jess Townes says:

    Joanna, I found my way to your blog from 12 x 12 and it is wonderful! I might get lost in here, in a good way. I loved this book, really enjoyed seeing the author/illustrator’s process. On a personal note, my boys are dual-enrolled homeschool/public school (it’s a wonderful collaboration) and a lot of this book hit home. Learning IS messy but it’s exciting and creative and open-ended and never-ending and Jonathan captures this beautifully. Thank you for sharing!

    • Joanna says:

      Jess, Iam thrilled that you landed here and thanks so much for your thoughts on this wonderful picture book. There are so many ways to learn (I prefer thinking about learning more than teaching even though I am a teacher) and each child and each season for each child is different.

  3. Patricia says:

    Love how you’ve tied your blog posts together. And your observation that learning is messy. I laughed at that! If you could see my home workspaces, the equivalent, for me, of “school,” you’d understand why.

  4. Erik - TKRB says:

    This sounds like a fun book! 🙂

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