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One of the most, um, “exciting” things about raising teens and homeschooling high school has been, hands down, teaching our kids to drive (wink-wink).
But seriously, it really has been fun to see them grow in their abilities and level or responsibility and, truth be told, with five kids in the family, it was always welcome to have another driver to help run errands.
And over the years I’ve come up with some important things to consider while teaching your homeschooled teen how to drive.
Important tips for Teaching Driver’s Ed at Home
- Keep good records – In our State, we’re required to submit records of how many hours our teen has spent practicing on the road, and in what driving conditions. If that’s the case with you, then ensure you have accurate records to hand in…
- Practice in all kinds of weather and light – As “scary” as it sounds, yes, your teen really does need to practice in all kinds of conditions, so…do your best to arrange practice sessions in as many kinds of weather conditions as possible.
- Have your student drive with multiple drivers – Just ask my kids: it’s quite a different experience driving with mom as it is driving with dad. And of course they will have a variety of passengers as time goes on, so might as well start building confidence from the get-go!
- Keep distractions to a minimum – Don’t allow your teen to listen to the radio while they’re in “driver’s ed” mode, and definitely turn the phone ringers off. Or better yet, stick the phone in the glove compartment or on the back seat.
- Teach them about car maintenance – Skill Trek is a new program that teaches life skills that your kiddo may have missed (hey, we know you’re busy teaching them the 3 R’s, and you can’t do everything!). At the very least, your teen – girl or boy – should know how to change a tire and when to get the oil changed (if not how to change it!).
- Teach them about mixing tech and driving – I would definitely rank this as important as teaching the skill of driving. Yes, there are some graphic videos available (parental discretion is advised on these), but you could also watch these.
- If those videos don’t “do the trick”, try this driver’s ed “field trip” from Ann at Annie&Everything. What a creative way to have your teen see the real effects of distracted driving of any kind.
- Use the Driver’s manual along with your student – Pick up the manual at your local tag or license office, or follow along with her while she works through a program like DriversEd.com (which you can get at a great discount through HomeschoolBuyersCo-op.com). I’ve been driving for more than a few years, and yet each time I’ve worked through the course, I’ve found it to be a really good review for me. You might, too!
- I found the link to this free course, offered by HealthWorldEducation, on Learnamic. If you feel so led, you could add it to your own homeschool driver’s ed course requirements. It’s recommended for grades 6-12, so you could also offer it as a Health course in the younger grades.
- Look into good-grade and driver’s ed discounts – Check with your insurance agent to see what discounts they may offer for taking driver’s ed classes and keeping up good grades.
- For review and/or to “beef up” your education, check out some of the books below…
So…have you taught your teen to drive? If you have any lessons you’ve learned from experience, please share them with us all in the comments!