What’s that number one thing that most parents tell you at one point or another?
Yep – time flies.
They tell you time will pass faster than you think it will, and they are not wrong. This is neither good nor bad, it’s just the way it is. As long as you have spent that time well, that’s what matters most.
And one day you look up and it’s time for your “baby” to start learning to drive. My what a young woman she has grown into!
Next thing you know your husband is assigning your fourteen year old the task of researching what we need to do to teach her Driver’s Ed here at home.
Am I worried? A little bit. But she’s a really good kid. And I know she will pay attention and learn well and practice well and not do anything dumb. (In true parent fashion I’m more concerned about the other people on the road.)
So – what *does* one need to do to homeschool Driver’s Ed in Texas? It’s quite simple really.
Homeschool Driver’s Ed in Texas
1.) Review the Parent Taught Drivers Ed (PTDE) Guidelines for Texas
The Texas DPS has a page dedicated to PTDE with all the pertinent info on who can qualify as an instructor for their child. Basically if you have a valid Texas license without a criminal record and are of sound mind then you should be good to teach your own child. (Find all the info here.)
2.) Request the PTDE packet – by mail.
The only way to request the PTDE packet is by mail. Snail mail. You can request to have the actual packet sent to you by email instead, but you are still looking at a two week wait or more. So do this early! Any instruction you give before receiving the packet will not count. So do this at least a month before you want to begin.
3.) Choose your state approved course.
There’s a list of approved courses on the TxDPS page. You can choose whichever you would like. We let our daughter pick and she chose an online course through TeenDrivingCourse.com. You can go ahead and purchase your course while you wait for the packet (we did,) but again you can’t start any instruction yet. In fact, once we registered for the course it told us to wait until we received the packet – even the course wouldn’t let us begin yet. Which is fine, because if we did, the hours wouldn’t count. And we don’t want that.
4.) Complete Your Approved Course
After we receive our packet, we will move forward with the Teen Driving Course. The guidelines are all laid out in regards to hours and minimum number of required days (32 “book” hours in no less than 16 days.) The PTDE packet will walk us through the process of teaching the driver’s ed, acquiring the learner’s permit and complete the driving portion of the course (44 driving hours in no less than 44 days at no more than two hours in one day.) It sounds pretty straight forward.
Are we excited?
My daughter is! She has a handful of friends ahead of her who are just getting their permits and a handful of friends behind her who will be next in line. They are all looking forward to it.
Am I going to warn you and tell you to stay off the road? No, I am not. Well, not in the sense you’d expect. I might warn you to watch your driving around all these fledgling drivers. And the pedestrians and the motorcyclists and the cyclists. I mean, it’s just good form. =)
But I’m not going to “warn” you to avoid my child-driver.
In fact, I’m going to add a Step #5. Support Your Child in Word and Action
Why is it normal to put our kids down, tease them, and make warning jokes about their abilities when they start learning to drive? I get that it’s like some kind of rite of passage. I don’t get how it’s helpful. So if you’ll pardon my soapbox…
COME ON PARENTS. THINK. If you are nervous about your child learning how to drive, why would you start off by speaking negativity into it, telling your children they are going to fail? Sure–they are going to fail at one time or another. At some point we have all run a stop sign, been in a fender bender or have been caught speeding. Shouldn’t our kids hear that message instead?
Dear child, you will make a mistake somewhere. We have all made mistakes. But I have faith in you, and I know you will do a great job. When you do make a mistake, it will be okay and I will still be here to support you.
Sure I’m a little nervous about my baby girl being out on the road. I’m more nervous about *her* being nervous because she’s afraid of failure (that’s how she’s built.) So I’m resolving not to give in to the typical rite of passage and warn everyone else (in front of her no less) to avoid the roads while she’s learning how to drive. Let’s tell our kids that they can do a great job instead of acting like their going to be road monsters. Let’s teach them to be responsible drivers instead of treating them like stunt drivers. Okay?
*Putting my soapbox away…*
Our plan above and beyond what the state requires:
- My husband will be the main instructor for the first 44 driving hours and after that I will make sure that she gets at least that much more before she turns sixteen. (My husband has required of her that she have her permit for no less than one year before she applies for a license -so hopefully we’ll be able to apply for her learner’s permit ON her 15th birthday!)
- After the first 44 hours, while she is still 15, she will drive with me as we run errands and such to get at least that much more practice, maybe double that, before she turns 16.
- She’s nervous about taking the driving test with an exam instructor, worried she will be nervous and won’t do well. After she has had her initial 44 hours, we will make sure she drives (with me still in the car) with other friends and family along to watch her drive, one at a time, to cope with a variety of stress and embarrassment feelings.
- The state requires that new drivers not talk on a cell phone or have more than one young friend in the car for the first six months, but we will likely add our own stipulations for the first year. We’re not there yet.
What else do you need to know about teaching Driver’s Ed in Texas?
This is a new leg of the journey for us. So we are learning as we go, too. But we’ll share this journey with you so that when it’s your turn you will know what to do. =) Any questions?