More Reasons to Homeschool

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Priorities,Sad — posted by Anwyn on October 9, 2006 @ 9:30 pm

Every time I read stuff like this, homeschooling looks more and more attractive. And that’s not even considering school shootings.

Motivated by a parent’s complaint about a past Christmas pageant, [Windmill Point Elementary School’s Principal] Floyd canceled plans for A Penguin Christmas because of its title and use of such holiday characters as Santa and Rudolph.

When I was little, it was fashionable for Christians to complain about the commercialization of Christmas at the expense of the story of the birth of Jesus. Now, apparently, the prime symbols of Commercial Christmas, Santa and Rudolph, are also too religious. Principal Floyd, your good judgment is running round loose somewhere on its own. Send someone to fetch it home.

But wait! Is Santa too religious, or just too exclusive?

In light of national media attention to the story, Deputy Superintendent Sandy Wolfe reminded principals last week to “please ensure that all student celebrations, activities and events are inclusive of the various cultures and beliefs held by our students, their families and our staff.”

So it isn’t enough to ax all reference to the origin of the word Christmas; you have to represent everything else at the same time.

Call me crazy, but wouldn’t sticking to Santa and forgetting Christ do the job of separating church and state pretty nicely? Or maybe some of these administrators are educated enough to be aware of the origin of the word Santa.

The article offers some hope for public schools, however, that is especially encouraging to this ex-choir teacher:

Area choral directors say it would be impossible to teach the history of music or explore a variety of genres without including religious hymns, a position courts consistently have upheld as constitutional. … Civil-rights groups say such performances are acceptable as long as a variety of music is performed, and students who feel offended are given alternative assignments.

Alternative assignments, indeed. Ever tried running a choir in which kids were allowed to opt out of a particular song? Take five kids away from a 20-kid choir and see how you sound on concert night. This choir director is bang on:

Conductor Jeffery Redding, who chose the music for high school choir members, insisted he’s teaching music, not religion.

“Choral music started in the church, so I cannot shy away from education because of someone’s religious beliefs,” said Redding, who teaches music at West Orange High School in Orlando. “I could do a whole concert with cowboy music, but if somebody doesn’t like cowboys, they would be offended.”

Any choir kid offended by Christian choral music should be given the alternative assignment of going to a real class instead of choir, one where they might have to do more than show up to get an A. See how fast they take to the music of the church then.


  1. The principal is confused. The parent complaining about religious penguins is also confused. The principle and the anti-Penguinist parent have issues that go deeper than misunderstanding the Establishment claus(e). Not many people know this but penguins have non-religious meanings in many cultures outside of St. Lucie County. Fact. You can look it up.

    Nevertheless, if a penguin-worshiping student wanted to sing a song about penguins, she should not be prevented from doing so. Student-initiated religious expression is protected. If on the other hand the choir director wanted to do an “all-penguin sacred selections pageant,” the penguin objectors should be given an opportunity to do some other assignment. Depending on the assignment, I agree with you that students would become penguin praisers (albeit insincere ones) in short order — although I doubt that as many as 20 students would opt out regardless of the material. I’m uncertain where the 20-student figure came from.

    Of course if you decide to home school, your choral group will necessarily be smaller than it would be at public school.

    With regard to the rest of the “War on Santa/Christmas/Penguins” meme… for Chri Rudolph’s sake, it’s only October! This is going to be a long freaking winter.

    Blessed be the Penguin.

    Comment by Allen — October 10, 2006 @ 12:51 am

  2. Twenty kids in a choir was a random figure pulled from my teaching days when I had 20 or less in one of my choirs–if five refuse to sing something, the choir falls apart, and 20 isn’t a healthy number for a high school choir to begin with.

    And my point was not to suggest that they would (or should) become praisers; it was that they would come to view the church music for what it is in that setting–musical expression, and not take it to the point of being offended by singing it.

    True story from when I was teaching: I gave the show choir “Bohemian Rhapsody.” There were a few kids who were of the “pray/hold Bible study at lunch” variety of generally obnoxious teenage Christians. They refused to sing the line “Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me-e-e, for me-e-e, for MEEEEEEEE!!!”

    Of course, they did it because they were rebellious little brats trying to make trouble for me, and not out of any real Christian conviction.

    And yeah, the big bugabear of homeschooling is group activity that I favor, including music.

    Comment by Anwyn — October 10, 2006 @ 11:54 am

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace