Homeschool Teen and Driver’s EducationMarch 18, 2022
There will likely come a time when you have finally perfected the curriculum for your homeschooling classes when your teen will surprise you with the big question: “when can I learn how to drive?” Driver’s Ed is one of those important life skills courses that parents are often hesitant about.
The question is inevitable but before you get out on the road, you will want to understand the ins and outs of driver’s education as a homeschooler. As parents, you may have many questions, including how you should add this class to their official records, what you are supposed to teach, and what you should expect once you get out on the road. Your concerns are understandable, and we are here to help. Here is your guide to driver’s ed and how to get your child safely out onto the road.
Add Driver’s Ed To The Homeschool Curriculum
You may be a bit apprehensive when your teen brings up driving. However, it is important to remember that while it may seem scary at first, there are many benefits to allowing your child to get behind the wheel. In addition to being able to drive themselves to work and other extracurricular activities, driving teaches kids about the importance of safety, responsibility, and how their integrity behind the wheel can influence others.
That is why it is important that you make their driver’s education official by adding completion of these classes to your child’s transcript and creating a pass/fail grade at the end. Doing this shows your child the importance of these skills and why they should be taken seriously. This is on top of the fact that most traditional schools also have an official driver’s ed class, so you will be staying close to their guidelines. The class can be listed as “Homeschool Driver’s Education.”
Keep in mind that not every driver’s ed curriculum will be the same. However, you will want to teach your kids the rules of the road that apply to your particular state. We have created a driver’s ed requirements page that you can reference for help. While most places have similar overall rules, many guidelines will differ by state as far as speed limits, how and when you can apply for your license, rules related to distracted driving, and more, so do your research and give your child the best chance for success.
Teaching Driver’s Ed At Home
Before you get out on the road, there are a few topics you will want to cover so your teen can be knowledgeable and comfortable behind the wheel. Since they will need to be insured before they can drive, you can begin teaching your child about car insurance and the different options that the policies provide, like comprehensive and collision coverage. In many cases, a child can be included as part of their parent’s policy, but if you want your teen to pay for their own portion, then you can also teach some important lessons about creating and maintaining a budget.
Next, you should take some time to talk about the importance of vehicle maintenance and how caring for their vehicle can make it last longer and also improve your gas mileage, so they pay less at the pump. Discuss the importance of oil changes every 5,000-7,500 miles and how they should never disregard a warning light inside their vehicle. You may also want to go through the manual for their particular car which will give them a comprehensive understanding of how it operates.
It is likely that your teen may not take these lessons as seriously as they should since you are their parent and they are not in a formal driver’s ed class. However, if you notice this attitude, you may have to adapt as necessary. One tactic that may work is showing them a video of the aftermath of car accidents, and how badly the drivers are injured and the vehicles are destroyed after a bad crash. While it may be hard for your teens to watch, it is important that you discuss what can happen if the driver doesn’t appreciate the responsibilities that they have when behind the wheel. This type of lesson may do the trick.
How To Teach Driver’s Ed On The Road
Once you and your student are ready to drive, remember that you can do so with your own personal approach. Although your teen has likely driven with you many times before as a passenger, it is a good idea for you to take the wheel first and explain how you make basic maneuvers like changing lanes, turning corners, and driving in stop-and-go traffic. When your student is comfortable, they can then take the wheel, and you can instruct them from the passenger’s seat.
You will also want to educate your teen on different driving situations. So, once your teen becomes comfortable driving during sunny days, consider bringing them out for rides during different types of weather. These lessons can take place at night, when it rains, and even if there are light snow flurries. You should also make it a habit to take a different route every time and mix in highway and backroad driving so your student gains experience in every type of scenario.
Parents should also practice what they preach when it comes to lessons about distracted driving. Never use your phone while you are operating your vehicle unless it is a safe hands-free option. You should also keep the radio at a minimum or off entirely when you are conducting your driving lessons so your teen can focus on the road. After every trip, ask your child how they felt about the drive and answer any questions or concerns they may have.
In the end, while parents may initially fear the idea, it is important to include driver’s ed into your homeschooling curriculum. When you do, consider the tips discussed here, and you will help to develop a responsible teen driver.