This charming memoir, a follow-up to Jonathan Bean’s equally delightful Building Our House, takes us through a day of home-school with his family. The narrator, a cheery blond-headed boy (suspiciously like the photos of cheery blond-headed Jonathan Bean in the back of the book) shows us his world of school. He stands in front of his house and announces, “This is my home.” After the page turn, he’s still playing in front of his house when he continues, “And this is my school! What, confused? Okay, allow me to explain.”
With the refrain “This is…” ringing, we see his sisters and his classmates, his classrooms and his cafeteria. We watch a whole wonderful, chaotic day of home-schooling unfold before us. We go in the family van to the library and to art class until mom collapses, exhausted.
But that’s okay, because Dad arrives home just in time to teach shop and to do chores and to play sports and to teach astronomy and, finally, to read a bedtime story.
The book concludes, “Because this is my home, this is my school.”
The pictures are full of delightful detail. If you look closely on the copyright page, you’ll see Dad heading to school and the neighborhood friends getting onto the school bus, and the endpapers are some of my favorite of the year. the front endpapers show the house in early morning light; the final endpapers show it in moonlight.
The author’s note has a lovely tribute to Jonathan Bean’s parents and is crammed with family snapshots from his growing-up years.
I’ve already shared this with homeschooling friends. I think it will be an enduring favorite!
An interview about the book with Jonathan Bean.
This Is My Home, This Is My School, by Jonathan Bean. Farrar Straus Giroux: 2015.