Ease on down the road

Teach your teen to drive, without driving each other crazy


We still haven’t made it to the Drivers License office to apply for the Learner License so Sam can begin the driving portion of the parent-taught instruction.

The Rockwall DL office recently moved from the Brookshire’s shopping center on Ridge Road to Washington/Fannin. We have been unable to reach them by phone to check their hours. The City of Rockwall confirmed that the newly relocated office was open, but they weren’t able to get a working number for them either, even from the DPS.

I called the DPS office myself and was put on hold for 22 minutes. I gave up.

My husband ending up stopping by the Rockwall office the other day and learned that they were in the process of doing an upgrade to their system. They were going to be closed for a couple of days as well have one or two days of shortened hours, and I believe he said they would also be closed President’s Day.

Since I’m pulling Sam out of school for this, we just want to be sure that when we show up we can actually accomplish the application process. So, we are being patient and planning to go later next week…

In the meantime, Sam is going to be working ahead on the written portion of the instruction…and undoubtedly spending time online looking for new cars we can’t afford…



Well, life has a way of changing your direction, throwing up roadblocks, putting bumps in the road…

We got sidetracked – stalled, really – and haven’t made any progress over the past week.

We did connect with Sam’s school and got the required VOE form signed from the attendance clerk today, so we just need to get to the Drivers Licence office to submit all the documentation and apply for the Learner License.

In the meantime, Sam cannot begin the driving portion. But she does like to back the minivan in and out of our driveway, and if you’ve ever seen how long our driveway is, that’s good practice…There’s acres of land for her to spin around on.


Sam will be learning to drive in our seafoam green family minivan, affectionately called "the rolling turd." More about that, later…


Sam successfully completed her first six hours of classroom instruction, scoring a 94 on the Module 1 Progress Assessment. The two questions that tripped her up:

1. You are required to dim your headlights when you are within ___ feet of an approaching vehicle (Answer: 500); and

2. The type of license that will allow a person to drive a large truck or van designed for 16 or more passengers is a _________ (Answer: CDL).

Under the concurrent program, Sam can now apply for her Learner License, which will allow her to begin Behind the Wheel instruction. So, my assignment for the week is to collect and complete all the necessary forms and documentation that must be presented to the Drivers License when we apply:

  • Form DL-14A, Application for Texas Driver License
  • Form DL-40 Supplemental Examination
  • Form DL-90A Classroom Instruction-Parent Driver Education Affidavit
  • Form CDD-104 VOE Verification of School Enrollment & Attendance Form, signed by a school administrator
  • Form DL-91A Classroom Instruction Log Record
  • The required fee for the Learner License ($$ ??)
  • Proof of Liability & Proof of Texas registration IF the student owns a vehicle (Sam does NOT)
  • Bill of sale or materials/worksheets as evidence of the Parent Taught approved course
  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate & two other forms of ID (see their list of acceptance forms of ID)

The rest of today’s update is brought to you by Sam herself, unedited:

When my mom told me about how she wanted to do a blog on my experience on the driving program, I hated the idea. I just want to drive already! But now, I realize that I have just got to share about the things that goes on when your mother tries to teach you to drive.

About the program itself: well, personally, it sucks! BORING, BORING, BORING. Hours upon hours are spent reading pages upon pages about random information. When you begin the program, you start with the first section which is called Module One. After you complete module one, you can get your learners permit.

After the first module, you get into the real information. They begin teaching you about driving rules and how to use a car– because let’s be honest, I really don’t know half of what the buttons and levers in a car are used for! In module one though, you learn about:

    • Truckers
    • the amazing force of gravity
    • and road safety

Which is all great of course except the information is so repetitive. 

Now to move on to a whole new subject: my own mother teaching me to drive!

WARNING TO ALL KIDS WHOSE PARENTS ARE TEACHING THEM TO DRIVE: after you begin the program, your parents will take any time that you are in the car, and try to turn it into a learning experience. Whoopee…NOT. I hear constantly, “See Samantha? Even though I just rolled that stop sign, you are supposed to fully stop.”  Or when we pull into my school, “This is a very confusing entrance…Now he has the right away, but I’m going to go ahead and go anyway because he has no clue what he’s doing.”

So the main lesson I learned? Do as I say, not as I do.

I love my mother, and sometimes it is fun to work with her on the program. We make fun of the weird pictures and useless info, and we can have fun. But like today for example, I finished the module one assesment. As my mom was about to grade it she said, “Do I actually have to grade it or can I just change your answers to be right?” Smh-______-. Gotta love it.

Frankly, this whole driving school is just like its name. School. Get prepared for tests, hours of reading, and some really weird stuff. Like when you open the packet, I got a laugh out of this. It said, “This information is correct to the best of our knowledge.” Well, thanks for that 411! 




It all started with this FB post:

“It’s time to figure out which DPS approved parent-taught driver education course to order for Sam. Why is one course $20 & the other $370? Do we do the block program or concurrent program? Split it up with a driving school or do it all ourselves?”

That post drew several comments:

  • “We did driving school twice and never even considered home teaching. Too much stress for everyone involved.”
  • “We’ve done both the online and the driving school. Driving school is definitely easier, but hard to fit around afterschool schedules…Online courses are very boring.”
  • “We’re doing the All American Driving School in Rockwall. Liking it.”
  • “I have to tell you I fired myself! It was worth every penny spent on the driving school!”
  •  “All I can say is if I had to do it again, I would pay double +50% not to parent teach, oh my nightmare! In fact, Dawn, a blog from your teaching perspective will probably save a lot of Sunday afternoon fights, just saying…”

Despite the warnings, Samantha and I chose to go with the parent-taught program at home, for both the classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction. Our main reason: Sam is in drill team practice every day after school – and Saturdays, too, for competition – leaving no room in her schedule to get to driving school. The only other option is to wait ’til summer – and for Sam, that’s simply not an option.

One suggestion we did take: to write a blog about our experience, in an effort to help parents and teens who are trying decide which path is right for them. May you learn from our mistakes! Your comments and suggestions are encouraged as we post updates about our progress and share any problems we encounter.


Prior to starting any Parent Taught Driver Education Course with your teen, you must order a Parent Taught Packet from the Texas Department of Public Safety ($20), by submitting an application DL92-Request for a Parent Taught Packet.

I ordered the packet thinking I was ordering the actual driving course, but in fact, it’s a 40-page informational printout outlining the requirements for PTDE courses, and a helpful list of approved course and their websites.

We selected Course 101 (because it seemed to be the most straight-forward – and it was first on the list). There are several options for approved courses – some that perhaps offer more bells and whistles, more videos – and a higher price tag.

Of course we didn’t choose Course 101 simply because it was a couple hundred dollars cheaper than some of the others (I don’t think you can put a price on safety – and if it’s a good course that’s going to keep your young driver engaged, learning and safe on the road, it’s worth the money) but for us, Course 101 seemed to offer the material in a straight-forward, easy to understand way that suits our personal teaching and learning styles. We’ll see how it goes.

Disclaimer: We don’t have all the answers (not even close) so we’re learning as we go, and hope that through our mistakes and experiences, others may be better informed when it comes to choosing a PTDE course, a driving school, or a combination of the two. Please double-check our info before starting any course!

Sidenote: For some reason, whenever I type the word “course” I keep omitting the “o” and it comes out “curse” – is that a Freudian slip?

Parent taught driver education home program

Lesson #1:

Before ordering the CD version of the approved Parent Taught Driver Education Model Program Course 101 (a bargain at $20, available from the Education Service Center Region XIII Driver Training Department (go to http://www5.esc13.net/drivers), make sure your teen’s laptop has a CD drive. Sam’s doesn’t. We didn’t think about that until we sat down to load the program onto Sam’s Dell Inspiron Mini to begin the course.

Our in-house IT expert (Dad) loaded the CD onto his computer, transferred it onto a thumb drive and copied it to Sam’s laptop. Problem solved.

The next hour was spent printing out Module 1, an 87 page workbook, for Sam to record her answers. The instructor’s answer sheet is available to print out as well (believe me, you’ll need it), but we chose to keep that online to avoid temptation of looking at the answers before it was time to check her work. The entire course (13 modules) can be printed as well – that’s 900 pages. Or you can spend $75 and they’ll send you the printed pages you need.


(We’ll post an update every couple of days)

Driving blog by Dawn and Samantha Redig, Blue Ribbon News, all rights reserved.