“We’re Gonna Be in the Hudson”


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Were you just as fascinated as I was by the brilliantly executed emergency landing of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River last January? The thing that struck me the most about it — I mean, besides the fact that all 155 people on board survived — was Capt. Sullenberger’s calm demeanor about the whole thing. Did you hear the flight recording?

If you didn’t, you can listen to the whole thing on this YouTube video:

My favorite part of the whole recording was the last line spoken by Capt. Sullenberger. He was asked by the air traffic controller, who was trying to offer any viable runway option, “Which runway to you want at Teterboro?”

Capt. Sullenburger calmly replied, “We’re gonna be in the Hudson.”

Survivors later said that the impact felt basically like a rear-end collision. They were thrown into the seat in front of them, but no one was seriously injured and everyone survived. While landing in the Hudson River was far from traditional, it was, in fact, the best course of action for everyone on Flight 1549.

Not only did everyone survive, but their lives were forever impacted by the crash. I’d hazard to guess that, aside from perhaps a new fear of flying (which, as Superman says, is “statistically speaking, still the safest way to travel.”), the experience ultimately impacted most of the passengers positively. It made them see their lives with a newfound sense of purpose and appreciation. Although I’m sure that none of them got on the plane that day expecting to take a swim in the Hudson, I imagine that many of them can look back and see how that day changed them for the better.

Doesn’t the whole thing remind you a little bit of homeshooling? First you’ve got the air traffic controller (a.k.a. friends and relatives) making sure that you’ve thought of every possible alternative to homeschooling besides homeschooling. What about public school? What about private school? What about a magnet school? For the love of all that is sane, what about tutoring at one of those learning centers?

Nope, we’re gonna be in the Hudson.

Is homeschooling the typical, traditional educational choice? No, but in most cases, it’s the best educational choice for the families who choose it. Not only do we survive, but we thrive. We see life and learning and family and education through new eyes. We approach life with a new sense of purpose and an appreciation for the things around us. And, we have a sense of excitement about learning — not to mention math and history — that we may have never had before because, let’s face it, though some days frustration levels and self-doubt are high, learning alongside your kids is fun.

So, come on…enjoy your swim in the Hudson. It may not be traditional, it may be scary at times, and it may not be something you’d ever have imagined yourself doing, but it just may be the best course of action for your crew.

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8 Comments

  1. That may be the best analogy for homeschooling I have EVER heard.

    I have homeschooled three of my four for at least part of their lives, mostly because the system wasn’t set up to deal with gifted, dual exceptionality children.

    And I have heard the air traffic control chatter for all of those years.

    Nicely done.

  2. Great analogy! If only I can steer my craft with such calm and precision we’ll be landing safely too.

  3. Great! I’ll be sending the link to your blog post to my “non” homeschooling friends and family. Love it!

  4. Oh that was great. We have and still are under much criticizism from family (even though my kids read for fun).
    That was well said.

  5. This is exactly how I feel sometimes about the whole year last year. To quote Crush, “At first it was like WHOA! Then it was like Whoooaaaa…! Then it was like wh-oa.”

  6. After hearing about homeschool, we don’t have it in Brasil, I realized I’m a self homeschool student. There’s no reason to pay someone to teach you what you can learn by yourself, for free.

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