Homeschooling and Driver’s Ed — Get the Facts!July 5, 2019
If you have a teen, most likely the discussion of driving has already surfaced here or there. As soon as a kid enters high school, it doesn’t take long for them to start asking for the car keys. As parents, it’s hard to accept that our kids are already old enough to drive.
Once you have accepted the hard truth that it’s time for your kids to learn, the next step is to consider your options. While public school kids can often learn via driver’s ed offered at their schools, the options are slightly different for homeschoolers. Whether you want to teach your teen to drive, or you’d feel better with a full driver’s ed program, there are a few things to consider.
5 Steps to Prepare Your Teen for their Driver’s Permit
If your teen has already been asking about learning to drive, you may be wondering where to start. After all, there is a lot to consider and it’s probably been a while since you went through the process yourself. Thankfully, as long as you first look into the legalities with your state and insurance, the rest is fairly hassle-free. To simplify it, we’ve condensed the learning process into five steps. After you’ve checked these off, your teen will be well on their way to getting their license!
- Look into your state’s requirements. Each state varies with their age-ranges, requirements, and types of instruction, so consulting with your local DMV should be your first step.
- Check with your insurance company. Certain auto insurance companies will require a policy change for teen drivers once they get their learner’s permit. However, other companies won’t require a change until they get their license. Additionally, insurance companies often offer discounts or promotions for teen drivers!
- Download your local DMV driver’s manual. With this manual, you can help your teen study for their permit test.
- How will they learn? As they study, or after they get their permit, decide on their mode of instruction. Here are three options:
- Teach your teen yourself. This is the best option for budget-conscious families and it does work! However, it often involves a lot of stress for both the teacher and the student. Most states will have parents keep a log of the number of hours their teen drives in daytime versus nighttime as well as freeway, highway, and city driving, etc.
- Hire a driving instructor. Homeschoolers often choose to hire a certified driving instructor. This instructor usually has their own program to work with state requirements for your teen. They will drive with your teen and teach them while logging the necessary hours. Additionally, they will evaluate their skills and work on strengthening weak areas from a third-party point of view.
- Consider taking a public school driver’s ed class. Sometimes, public school districts will allow homeschoolers to participate in their driver’s education classes. This could be helpful if your student tends to learn well with their peers, or they learn best from a mix of studying and hands-on.
- Clearly define rules and expectations. All 50 states offer graduated licenses to teens, which means there will be certain restrictions in place until they are 18. Again, it’s important to check with your state as to the specifics of these limitations. Oftentimes, they involve only driving between certain hours or not driving alone with peers under 18, and so on. However, many parents feel more secure if they set personal rules with their teens. For example, should your teen’s phone be turned off while they are driving? How far are you comfortable with them driving alone? If it makes you feel more secure, consider a parent-teen driving agreement, such as this one from AAA.
Finally, when your student has completed their Driver’s Ed program with their permit — whether by logging hours with you personally, an instructor, or a class — they will be ready to take the final test for their license. Good luck!
5 Available Driver’s Ed Resources
It’s a stressful time. We get it. I remember how anxious I was when studying for my own permit and license. It’s a big time in a teen’s life and one that they will probably remember for a while! Here are a few resources to make the journey a little easier.
- Student Driver Car Magnets
- Student Driving Habits Tracker
- Free YouTube Driver’s Education Lessons
Courtney Newman is a homeschooled graduate with a love for writing. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Health Science at University of the People. Other than writing, her hobbies include reading, yoga, visiting the beach, and meditating. She lives with her husband and pets in coastal Virginia.