With my oldest daughter, we enrolled in a homeschool driving program and was able to complete the whole process on our own, with the homeschool program providing the necessary paperwork. She had to go take a written test, watch a video and do a test drive with the head of the program. This method worked very well for us, but the program has closed down.
With my second daughter, I decided to go the easy route (or so I thought) and sign her up with a local driving school. I decided to go with Sears since it is well known and I've seen their drivers training cars around town for years. This was a mistake. The classroom part of the course was a farce. The classes were scheduled, then cancelled at the last minute and not available for another month or so. Then when the classes finally started, we had an instance of the instructor showing up very late, not showing up at all one day, and instructors changing - I think she had a different instructor for 3 out of the 4 classes. The classroom instruction did not prepare her to pass the written test - they didn't even intend to. The bulk of the class time was spent on discussion of drugs and alcohol and things of that nature. The behind the wheel training was okay, I suppose. All in all, on a 1 to 10 scale, I'd give the program a 2.
Now, I have my son turning 15 and ready to get started - but where do I turn?
Here are resources I'm going to be checking into. You might wonder why am I putting this article up now before I check into the programs. Simple answer, I figure that there are many of you in the same boat and we can help each other through the process. If you have experience with any of the programs or know of others, please let me know. As I check into each one, I'll be posting a review to let you know of my findings. I've already found some good articles and safety tips that I'm going to have my daughter and son review.
Drivers Training Corner...I'm setting aside a folder in the forum for drivers training. If you are a parent and teaching your student to drive, you can share your pointers and experience with others. If you're a student learning to drive, you can talk with others and share your fears and questions. If you've just received your license, you can be a big help to your peers by sharing your experience and answering some of their questions. It would also be helpful to all if we could get pointers and information about the driver's training programs in each state.
As a side note, just as a precaution to you - the DMV (in California) won't issue a driver's license if the name on your child's social security card doesn't match the name on the birth certificate. For some reason, my middle daughter's card came with her middle initial rather than her full name. You might want to check into to this for your own children ahead of time.