We (Colleen and Leslie Smith) created and own this wonderful and amazing resource—a free online driver education course created specifically for Guam drivers. Of course we are very impressed with it. We put it all together ourselves.
The web site is http://guamdrivingschool.com
As homeschoolers, we like to think we can teach our kids better than the “pros”, but there are limitations. For example, I can’t teach my kids how to play piano. Oh, I can pound the keys, but that does not qualify me to teach proper technique to novices. Many parents teach their kids how to make the car go, and consider that to be good enough. But they will fail the driving test in a heartbeat and they will be lucky if that’s the worst that happens.
Driving is kind of a strange phenomenon. Most parents would agree with my example of piano playing, yet driving has this kind of macho vibe attached to it. (Any parent worth their salt should be able to teach a kid how to drive.)
This provides a conundrum for us as well. We do not like to teach kids whose parents refuse to take them out driving. Why should I risk my life if you won’t even take her out for five minutes? And sometimes I have to explain that paying me $60.00 does not give you the right to kill me or wreck my car or even scare me half to death!
On the other hand, when the parents have been teaching Junior “everything they know,”—Yikes! Most drivers have bad habits and are in fact often proud of them. A recipe for disaster is to teach your kid all your bad habits and then turn him loose on the road without the benefit of your decades of driving experience.
In fact, we can say that most of our teen students have been getting driving lessons from mom and dad for about sixteen years. Your kids are watching you and getting cues from you. Question--In your family:
Is the law to be obeyed all the time, or only when it is convenient?
Is the fact that everyone else runs red lights and even the fact that police really don’t seem to care about it—does that make it alright and will it protect your child from the consequences of 1. Running the red light, 2. The habit of running the red light, and 3. The overall attitude of respecting or not respecting the law.
What is the limiting factor in terms of speed? In some families, 35 mph means 35. Or maybe 5 over is OK, or 10 over. Some just say, “Go with your own judgment. Don’t go faster than what you think is safe.” And some don’t have any restraint at all. They go just as fast as their 8 cylinders will take them. And Junior drives like that as well.
The dilemma is this: We like parents to let their kids drive, but they should learn to drive correctly. This obviously reduces the chances of crashing, which is the #1 killer of teens.
The licensing process on Guam involves both teaching and practicing. Ideally the driver trainer should teach and the parents should reinforce and practice the correct driving she learned from the driving school. And even more ideally, the parents should have been setting a proper example of respect and risk reduction for the young driver to follow.
Our on-line driver education course is designed for parent-child interaction and discussion. In this context, it is OK to say, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
If you approach the task of learning to drive as a family, it opens the doors for discussion and truthfulness. Parents can explain that they have 20 years of driving practice to protect them from their bad habits, but kids do not. In addition, teens are in danger because they are at a crossroads; they have new freedoms and strengths they never had before, but the maturity and ability to identify and appropriately respond to risk are not yet well-developed. (This is kind of like a two-year-old; he can climb and run but does not recognize the danger he puts himself in. He has the ability to run into the road, but not the brain power to know it’s dangerous. Sorry, teens, for the comparison!)
In short, it is best to defer to a pro for some things and driver education is one of them. Some other things, the pros will do all the work, such as Steph’s diving class. I do not even attempt to give my two cents worth when it comes to diving--what do I know?. But in driver ed, it should be a team effort. We want to work as a team with parents who care about their kids’ safety. It is in this spirit that we offer, free of charge, our on-line delivery of all our classroom material and additional articles about attitudes and approaches to driving.
Look for more information about pre-driving and a Christian perspective on driving as we expand our offerings.
NOTE: There is no charge to go to our site and learn. But for those who need a certificate, the study is free, but not the certification. The web site explains it all.
If you have a teenager about to enter this stage of life, please take advantage of this free resource and call or email if you have any questions.