The family from Building Our House (2013) returns, but this time their son tells readers all about life as a home-schooled kid.
As the author’s note explains, Bean draws upon childhood experiences to give readers a peek into the day-to-day life of the family. His mom is his teacher, and his three sisters are his classmates, the “cafeteria” is the kitchen table, and just about any place can be a “classroom.” When the teacher gets tired, she calls for help, and “the substitute teacher” (his dad) takes over. The sub also leads shop class, phys ed, and helps with homework (yardwork)—a list of duties that feels rather rigid in its adherence to strict gender roles, but at least the girls all participate in these activities as well. Bean employs a looser, more naïve artistic style here than in Building Our House, and it nicely matches the enthusiastic narration. The family is depicted as an industrious, curious, creative crew, with successive spreads revealing busy scenes of activity and inquiry. The ultimate message of the book seems to be that home schooling, at its best, positions learning as the stuff of life. Every place and every moment holds potential for learning, a message likely to resonate with many home-schooling families while also giving a window into this way of life for others.
Home sweet school. (Picture book. 4-8)