Title: This is My Home, This is My School
Author & Illustrator: Jonathan Bean
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 2015
Themes: Homeschooling, family life, concept book
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.