Often, as we’re reading books or watching movies together, I wonder what the girls think about depictions of public school. Many of their favourite books and shows—The Magic School Bus, Berenstain Bears, Fancy Nancy and more—are about kids dealing with what goes on at school. It was really fun, then, to find a book about homeschoolers: This Is My Home, This Is My School by Jonathan Bean.
On the first page, a boy points to a house over his shoulder and says, “This is my home.” On the next page, he points to another view of the same house and says, “This is my school.” Expecting his readers to be confused, he says he’ll explain. On the next page, he introduces us to his mom and sisters—who are also his classmates and teacher. The entire house holds his classrooms, and he gives us the full tour, from the basement to the backyard stream.
In this book, the pictures really tell the story. The pictures made me smile and I spent as much time looking as the girls did. Jonathan Bean has a fun style of drawing and there’s a lot going on in each picture. For example, there’s the “crabby cafeteria lady” (aka Mom having a bad day) and “the school bully” (aka the family dog).
I loved the way that the pictures in This Is My Home, This Is My School show how homeschooling doesn’t just happen at home. From doing science in the stream to field trips in the trusty “school bus” (aka minivan) to shop class with the “substitute teacher” (aka Dad), there’s a lot going on at this school. Dinner is show-and-tell and bedtime stories double as English lessons.
“Each scene is drawn with Bean’s characteristic ramshackle, loose-limbed charm, with bright watercolor brushstrokes straying exuberantly outside the pen-and-ink lines. The house, it must be said, is a bit of a mess, but that’s reassuring. Bean is not presenting home schooling as an escape from the unruliness of reality, or as a bid for total control over everything in a child’s life.” ~ Maria Russo, NY Times
The end of This Is My Home, This Is My School includes an author’s note, along with pictures of Jonathan Bean 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.”
If you’re thinking about starting to homeschool, this would be a great book to get to kick off the school year and talk about what your child can expect. If you’re already homeschooling, this would be a great book to get to show your kids they aren’t the only “weirdos” who do things this way. (Having a book about something makes it all normal, right?) This Is My Home, This Is My School is a beautiful, fun book I recommend for any home schoolers.
Jonathan Bean has an M.F.A. from New York’s School of Visual Arts and now lives in Pennsylvania. He is an award-winning author and illustrator who has worked for Cricket Magazine as well as multiple publishers. You can find out more about him by dropping by his website or following him on Facebook.
I received this book for review compliments of Raincoast Books; all opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.