As your child enters high school, it’s no doubt they will begin thinking about the day they ask for the keys to the car. Some states allow kids as young as 14 to obtain a learner’s permit. Are you ready?
Homeschoolers have a few options when it comes to learning how to drive. You will need to contact your state’s department of motor vehicles to find out exactly how many class hours and how many driving hours are required, and what is deemed acceptable as far as the “learning” portion is concerned.
Your child might choose to take a state certified driver education class locally, they might possibly be able to take driver’s ed classes at the local public school (some allow homeschoolers to participate), or if your state allows they can take an online driver education class and save a good bit of money, work at their own pace, and complete practice tests.
If your child takes an online class, you might be able to teach the actual driving portion if your state allows. You taught them to talk, walk, read, add/subtract, cook and so forth, so why not teach them to drive? After all, you love them the most, and you care the most about their safety.
Statistics and Safety
Thirty-six percent of all deaths of 16-19 year olds are due to car wrecks. Wrecks involving 16 and 17 year olds are mostly single-vehicle wrecks. Most of the time the young driver gets distracted and runs off the road because of bad judgment or speeding. Traditional driver education classes are simply not working. The Young Drivers Video, produced by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, paid for in part by State Farm, tells the viewing audience not to depend on traditional driver education and training. One of the experts interviewed on the training video, Dr. Herb Simpson, states that traditional driver’s education programs “have little or no value.”
During the 1940’s and 1950’s, most teens were taught to drive by their parents in a one-on-one situation, not a classroom setting. Later, during the 1960’s and 1970’s, things changed with the idea that schools should be the ones to teach driving skills. However, statistics show students who are taught to drive by their parents, are much safer drivers.
Texas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Virginia all allow parent-taught driver education. Georgia allows online instruction with a certified Joshua’s Law class, and parent-taught behind-the-wheel (40 hours/6 at night) driving instruction. Many more states do not require any specific requirements for driver education, leaving parents free to choose between commercial driver education schools, public schools, or parent-taught driver education courses.
All 50 states have agraduated system for licensing. The student begins with a learner’s permit usually at age 15. The next level is the intermediate license usually at age 16, and finally the Class C license at 17 or 18. The idea behind the graduated system is to gently ease the student driver into this new journey and allow them to gain the various skills necessary to become a mature driver who makes responsible decisions while driving in all types of situations. Each state has specific rules about age, driving hours (day and night), when the student driver can and can’t drive, and who is allowed in the car when they are driving.
Many insurance companies give a 10% discount off your premium through the age of 21 if the student driver completes an approved driver education class. Some even give an additional 15% off for students who have grade point averages of 3.0 or better. Some states also allow a credit on your state taxes if the student driver completed an approved driver education program (this includes online classes).
Links and Resources
Here are a few leads to get you started in your search for driver education options:
Driver Ed in a Box–Driver Ed in a Box®, is a complete parent/teen driver training program for both classroom and in-vehicle phases offered by Driver Education Supplies & Training. The program provides parents with educational materials and training tools necessary to train their teens to be safe, collision-free drivers.
Driver-ZED–Experience the thrill of driving on your PC! Full-screen, full-motion, real-life interactive video puts you in the driver’s seat! You’ll use your eyes and brain to spot trouble before it happens. Spot all the risks and handle them right, and you’ll score a perfect 100. But watch out – it’s harder than you think!
National Driver Training Institute–Obtaining a driver’s license can be a time of stress and conflict or it can be a time of family bonding. Our comprehensive, step-by-step curriculum will guide you through all phases of driver education and training with the goal of “creating safe drivers for life.” (endorsed by HSLDA)
Jackie, a former public and private school teacher, enjoys homeschooling her 16 year old daughter via Time4Learning's new high school courses and other supplementals. Jackie keeps busy writing study guides, educational articles, and literature units for various online education companies as well as acting as an online marketing consultant. She is a contributing author at 3 D Learners.