Most parents will agree: driving is a rite of passage for teenagers that requires a lot of careful preparation. Unless you are a professional driving instructor, a really important step in your child’s learning process is sending them to a driving school for lessons.
Why do you need to find a driving school?
No matter what your own confidence level is in your driving abilities, when your teenager learns to drive it’s important to seek help from a professional along the way. No, that doesn’t mean that you are off the hook for teaching your teen to drive. In fact, your teenager needs at least 60 hours of practice before he or she gets a driver’s license. In almost all cases, a driving school doesn’t offer a program that covers 60 hours of in-vehicle practice – and even if it does, most parents aren’t financially able to pay a driving instructor for that amount of practice time.
Regardless, sending your teenager to a driving school is an important first step in learning to drive. A professional driving school can provide your teen with a solid understanding of the rules of the road, current laws and theory. During in-vehicle training with a pro, a driving instructor can identify your teen’s strengths and weaknesses that can serve as a valuable guide for your practice at home.
How to find the right driving school
Location, affordability, and convenience are major factors when you are trying to find a driving school. But when you choose your driving school be sure to look closely at the course details as well. Is there a topic that you are uncomfortable teaching your teen yourself? If so, see if any local companies cover those topics in their curriculum.
If you live in a remote or rural area, it may be difficult to find a driving school near you. In those scenarios, you may be unable to get your teen to a driving school more than once or twice. Fortunately, there are online lesson plans that can help you teach your teen without forgetting about any important lessons.
Lastly, the driving school that you choose should be well-reviewed and should provide reputable courses, such as those that offer perks from government or insurance companies. With Google reviews and Facebook reviews, as well as word-of-mouth, you should be able to make an informed decision on the quality of the service.
Building your own lesson plan around the driving school curriculum
We’ve mentioned that when you send your teen for driver training you should consider the course details closely. You can use this information to guide you as you build your own lesson plan for you & your teen outside of driving school. Here are some considerations to make as you build your practice itinerary:
- Location of the school vs. your own home:
- If there are topics or scenarios that are common to your area but are uncommon in the area that the driving school is located, you may choose to spend time focusing on those. For example, if you are sending your teenager to a school in the city but you live in a rural area, you may want to dedicate a portion of your lessons to scenarios specific to rural roads.
- Cover topics that weren’t covered in the school’s curriculum:
- Did the school cover specific topics such as manual transmissions, checking oil, pumping gas, or parent-teen driving agreements? If you see any gaps in the curriculum that you know your teen will encounter once they get their license, this is a great opportunity to set your teen up for success.
- Practice what your teen learned in class:
- You can use your practice sessions to review what your teenager learned in their professional driving lessons and improve skills that they found difficult to learn.
- Select new routes that the driving lessons didn’t cover:
- Depending on your teenager’s comfort level, you may choose routes for your driving practice that are similar or different from the ones that the professional driving instructor took them on.
- Driving other types of vehicles:
- If your teenager drove in a driving school’s car, you may use this as an opportunity to teach your teen to drive other types and sizes of vehicles.
It is important for parents to seek professional training for their teenagers when they learn to drive. However, the learning doesn’t end there. Parents should find a good driving school for your teen and stay actively involved in the process. Be sure to provide additional practice opportunities for your teenager outside of their driving school experience. This is the perfect opportunity to build your teenager’s confidence and skills on the road! Good luck.