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The Terrors of Homeschool Driver’s Ed

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Homeschool Driver’s Ed

Do you dread the day your child is old enough to drive? Or are you confident that this type of learning will occur naturally and with no yelling whatsover?

Maybe a little of both?

High school certainly brings many challenges, but please don’t panic. You can do this, with some planning.

Homeschool Moms are Notorious for Doing it ALL

So OF COURSE that includes calmly and rationally teaching driver’s ed. With a smile on your face and laughter in your heart, you can do this.

The smile and laughter MIGHT come 7 or 8 years later, though.


The excitement grows as that date approaches!

As homeschoolers, we often do everything together as a family so your kids don’t necessarily NEED to learn to drive. Those kids go everywhere together! I deliberately planned sports activities based on sports they could all do despite the age difference, but my 3 kids are within 3 years of each other. So it was easier than other families we knew.

Some of the larger homeschool families got some relief when the oldest kids could drive – making busier schedules easier to handle.

And some kids don’t want to drive – we’ve known a few. One of our friends strongly preferred running everywhere. Or using his bicycle if he had to. He eventually got a license.

Some parents prefer if the kiddos learn to drive later because it’s easier on the insurance pocketbook. Especially if they have boys!

And in some families, driving is a natural part of their lives – especially in rural or agricultural communities. We’ve known some kids who basically grow up and learn to drive their farm equipment on their properties as soon as they are big enough. It makes an easy transition for road driving.

Of course, there are always those kids who want their license the minute they turn the right age. We’ve known quite a few like that.


How will you approach driver’s ed? Here are a few considerations:

  • Find out the age your state allows for driving. What age will work for your family?
  • How will it change your insurance? Talk to your agent about options. Make sure you get the “good student” discount if appropriate.
  • Do you have local instruction courses to supplement learning?
  • As always, what works for your family? Make sure it works for your family. And Don’t Panic!

Options for Driver’s Ed

Do it Yourself

At some point, you probably will have to get in the car with your child driving. When they are learning, they are usually not good drivers. But they think they are.

You can follow some basic learning outlines – our local DMV gave us things to do before the permit could be changed into a license. It actually made a good basis for driving lessons.

The best part of the DMV (who hears that expression often?) was the lady behind the counter. She pretty much threatened my sons with serious consequences if they didn’t listen to me while I was teaching them. DMV lady gave me complete authority when she told my sons, “If you don’t listen to your mom, you don’t get your license! She has to sign off on these pages. If she doesn’t sign – no license! She can fail you for not making your bed and taking out the trash. So listen to what she says!”


Get tips from online

If you do it yourself, get tips as much as possible.

  • Colonial Driving School shares top 3 tips (though they strongly recommend a driving instructor!)
  • All State Driving School lists their course outline content that they teach (they are based in Ontario, so some info is location-specific)
  • The Frugal Girl has great and reassuring tips and an outline for the progression of lessons.

Get supplemental material

Anyway, there are some good driver’s ed curriculum out there. We found a nice one at a used book sale. It looked nice, anyway. It was in practice a bit tedious. We ended up skipping the material and going back to the DMV outline.

For the written test

There are lots of hybrid online class instruction courses for the written part of the test.

We used a course called I Drive Safely. It covered all of the details of the driving instruction that they needed to pass the test. And it counted as taking a “Safe Driving Course” towards our insurance.

They thought it was thorough. They wanted it to go faster.

Delegate if you just can’t keep your calm

Maybe a spouse can teach Junior? Perhaps an uncle, aunt, or grandparent? Do you know anyone with nerves of steel?

Full delegation: Find a Driving Instructor

There are plenty of great driving instruction programs. They have lots of experience. Some even have the cool double steering wheel sets. Private lessons work very well in this case.

We never used this method, but we knew some families who did, and we took our road tests at one of those companies. The testers/instructors were fabulous and very helpful.

My boys all passed on their first attempts, by the way. But they all kept their permits until they were over 18 (in other words, they tested after driving on their permits for 2 ½ years), just because that’s how it worked out.

How did it feel?

My point of view: While they were learning, I wasn’t ALWAYS terrified. Maybe not even 50% of the time.

But it sure felt like my kids were terrible drivers. And I’ve traveled for business in a car driven by a man who emigrated from Russia and at age 50 learned to drive in downtown Boston. He had wrecked 2 of the company cars at the time. He drove into a ditch and ruined a third. So I felt I qualified for the nerves of steel part.

Facts to back up my feelings: One son drove over the curb while making a practice turn in an empty parking lot. One son drove over the middle of a rotary. And one son liked to hug the lines on the highway. All of them drove over the speed limit unless I mentioned it.

But I’m just complaining.

And by the way – I think I’m an average driver. The problem is that 9 out of 10 drivers think they are better than average. (Statistically speaking, 4 of them have to be wrong. And I’m the 10th.)

How did it feel to my sons?

One son actually gave a speech on this topic. It was Speech 6: Vocal Variety.

Here’s the complete text. Enjoy!

Speech from High School Speech Club

Driving cars: A short recollection of learning, mistakes, and my mother’s screams



Everyone learns how to do it. “Learns” being a very loose term, when they turn 16, or 15, or 15 ½ or in some states under certain circumstances 12.

In Colorado, you can get a learner’s permit when you reach 15 ½, which I did at the end of last summer. I’ve been driving for a little over half a year now, and have only hit 4 pedestrians.

Not really. I only grazed one, and she got up so that can’t really count.


In order to get a learner’s permit you must pass a test which is very similar to standardized school tests, just it’s on driving. Before taking this test, I took an online driver’s education course, to prep, and get insurance discounts.

Apparently, for the online course to be equivalent to taking the driver’s ed course in the classroom they have to take the same time. The online course does this by putting a timer on each page of the course. You can’t move on the next page until the timer runs out. Imagine being forced to stay on a page with only 600 words on it for 6 minutes, and you’ll start to get the idea.

I did learn a lot from the course. But having to wait three to six minutes on every page, after I was finished reading it, got old real fast.

After slogging through that, the actual test for the learner’s permit was easy. For those of you who don’t know, a learner’s permit is basically a driver’s license, just with a lot of exceptions and requirements. Like you can’t drive without a parent, or older sibling who has a license, in the car. You can’t drive between two and five in the morning. You can’t drive with anyone not in your family in the car. Things like that.

My Mom

It’s been mostly my mom who’s been going driving with me. Her stress levels while I’m driving are probably what you’d expect, somewhere between searching for a lost child at a supermarket, and jumping out of an airplane.

I started out driving around empty parking lots, then moved on the small back roads. A month or two ago I started driving on the major roads around town. Earlier this month, my parents let me drive on the highway down to the city. On that trip, I found out that an hour+ is a long time to drive. Who knew that sitting down could be so fatiguing?

Now after driving 65 miles an hour on the highway, going 30 or even 40 on the roads locally suddenly seems very slow. Fortunately, I have my mom to remind me every time I hit 31 or 41, depending on the road.

I’ve made a lot of progress in my driving ability since I started. My only big weak areas are parking, and turning the right way. That is – I turn right just fine, only I do it when I’m supposed to turn left, and vice versa.


A year from when I got my learner’s permit, I’ll be allowed to take the assessment for a full driver’s license. If I lived in Florida I wouldn’t have anything to worry about, because as comedic author Dave Barry says “Apparently there isn’t anyone who the state of Florida considers unqualified to drive.” But since I don’t live in Florida, I guess I’ll have to put some time and effort into getting better.

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