Parent-taught driver’s ed in Texas

enter our current giveaway: Apple Valley Natural Soap

We’re getting ready to start driver’s ed for 2 or 3 of our oldest children, and I have a question for anyone who has done the parent-taught option, particularly in Texas.

Texas has 10 approved courses that we can use.  Prices vary tremendously.  Some offer sibling discounts, and others don’t.  All insist that you must pay separately for each child.


We already ordered and received the packet from the state, and the instructions therein say that we must “buy or obtain” approved course materials. The word obtain suggests to me that we can get it used – or reuse it for multiple children.

Furthermore, as far as I can see, the state doesn’t require a receipt, certificate of completion, or other proof that we actually bought a separate course for each child.  It only requires logs, affidavits, etc. which are provided in the packet we ordered from the state.

So correct me if I’m wrong, but provided we don’t violate any copyrights, can’t we use the same single purchased course for all 3 children?  If they don’t consume the consumables, and if we don’t choose an online course that specifies one student/login, we should be able to save 67%.  Right?  Have you done this?

I can and will call the local driver’s license department and ask the bureaucrat on the other end of the line, but I’ve spoken to her once already and to be frank, I have more confidence in a mom who has been-there-done-that.

So, my question:

Can you/did you use a single purchase of a driver’s ed course to teach more than one of your children?

And a bonus question:

If yes, and if you have one of the courses from this list, are you interested in selling it?


  1. Catherine Allen says:

    My oldest did Driver’s Ed in a box & when I wanted to sign up my 2nd child it was outragously expensive, despite my having the CDs & training manual. So I used National Driver Training It taught my son well, was cheaper & easier to use. I will use NDTI again. We got a 10% off discount for homeschoolers $74 – 10% = $66.60 (the procedure for the discout 2 1/2 years ago was if you have a membership with THSC (Texas Homeschool Coalition) or HSLDA (Homeshool Legal Defense Association) then you input your membership number as the promo code. It may be that this has changed in 2012. If not a member, you may be able to call NDTI & prove another way that you are a homeschooler through another means.

  2. Brad Moon says:

    I’m a Dad of 9 and have taught 6 so far, starting #7. The State canned the free do-it-yourself because too many families were pencilling in the paper work and putting poor drivers on the road. It was a lot of work to try to do it well. I was spending hours making powerpoints; these vidoe programs are better. I used Virtual Drive of Texas for #6 and we bought liked it. Interesting idea to re-use an expensive program (DE in a Box) along with a cheap one for certificate. However you still have to go through the cheap course and take each test to complete the program. I’m sure how the teen would go for doing both.

  3. Bobbie collins says:

    Are we not still considered a private school? This is frustration, I just found out when I took my daughter to take her learner permit test. Very sad about it all, guess we will have to conform.

  4. You should try learning to drive in Scotland. My parents would not have been able to afford the lessons for all of us kids so we had to wait until we were older and paid for it ourselves. It does help that in Scotland (as long you live in a town) public transport is pretty good so there is not the added pressure of having to gain your licence. When I learnt to drive I started when I was about 26 and finished when I was 27. Approximately 45 lessons at £24 each (about $38) then the theory test which is £30 ($48.65), then the test which is £50 ($81) plus you have to hire the car which is another £50. All in all it cost me about £1160 (approx $1881) to learn how to drive!! Then we have ridiculous fuel costs. At the moment a litre of petrol is £1.40 which translates to $2.27 which I think works out at $10 for a gallon! I am starting to wonder why I wanted to learn to drive so much!! Good luck with whatever you decide to do and good luck to your kids learning to drive!

  5. I bought the $10 CD from TEA. In the instructions, it states there is a student workibook to print out, classroom assessment forms, etc. I am not finding ANY of the documents the CD instructions say I can print out. All the instruction modules are on the CD, but I can’t find any certificates, etc. The post above refers to writing your own lesson plans – is that what I’m supposed to do? If so, why is TEA not more clear on that?

    • I don’t know, Pam? Did you try calling the license department for details?
      I think they recently did away with the option to write your own lesson plan, so maybe you have something that is outdated.

  6. Aubrey in SA says:

    Kim, I think she is talking about the TEA CD you can buy. You then have to create and turn in all lesson plans to match their requirements. 32 lessons worth!
    The $74 one is the one HSLDA recommends. We are going with that one because it is not worth $64 of my time to write 32 hours of lesson plans!

  7. we are going through this process right now. I paid 20 to austin to get certified to teach my oldest, the way the application is set up you pay 20 per child to the state. then i am going to buy the $10 disk from the first link on the txdps website and use that for each child. not sure if i can re-use it, ill find that out when i get it i suppose.

  8. The free curriculum (through TEA) is no longer an option, as of November 2009. We are looking at the same deals, and I use the term “deals” lightly.

    The way I understand it is that the log of driving hours and which curriculum is used is all the DPS wants to know when the teen goes in for their license.

  9. Why not just wait until they are 25?

  10. Wow! Learning to drive isn’t nearly so intensive here in Oregon. We just picked up the free driver’s handbook and took a written test at the DMV to get a driver’s permit. There are various driver’s ed courses with classes and teachers, but they are optional. If you take one you are only “required” to get 50 hours of driving time as opposed to 100 without. However, the parent just has to sign for the hours, they don’t really require proof. I first got my permit when we lived in FL for a while and it was even easier there. I thought that’s how it worked all across the country!

  11. Okay Kim I am so glad that you brought up this topic…can’t wait to hear the results. I need to read what all even needs to be done. So we need to get some sort of packet from the state?

  12. Aubrey in SA says:

    Ok, I just talked to a bureaucrat. ugh. Anyway, they said a new curriculum must be purchased for every student because you MUST have that curriculum’s special completion certificate. He did acknowledge that not all offices will ask to see it but that it is required to have one.

  13. Aubrey in SA says:

    I would love to know what you end up buying! We are awaiting the packet after sending in the form. I am having a hard time finding anyone that has reviewed all the different choices. I dont necessarily want to buy the cheapest course if it is awful.

  14. Kim–I think so too! I should specify that it’s the rule I think its ridiculous, not her idea. 🙂 But if this is not an actual law, just some sort of “rule” that some offices enforce and others don’t, I would have have no qualms about trying it before you buy the other two kits.

  15. We are doing this right now.

    We got a discounted curriculum through Homeschool Buyers Co-op. When we went to the DPS office to turn in the paper work, take the test and get the learner’s permit, they didn’t even ask to see proof that we actually used anything state approved. They glanced at the logs we filled out and only wanted the name of the curriculum. We fumbled around for a bit before we remembered the title, and that was written down.

    All that to say, I don’t get the impression they are much concerned with what you do other than the child has read the material and can pass the test.

    I guess it could depend on the person you run into at the DPS, though

  16. I don’t know about multiple children using one course because there is a 4 1/2 year gap between my first two children. So far I have only taught one child. I used National Driver Training (they have a homeschool edition giving you a discount). My daughter thought it was a wonderful course and told me that she felt better informed/prepared than her peers. We had to provide certificates with her name on it to TxDPS from National Driver Training. If you call them (NDT) perhaps they could let you know a way to save money/combine kids?

    I think Kristi is right in that you can get free curriculum from TEA. I can’t remember why I didn’t go that route; I am guessing that I must have been unimpressed with what they provided because I usually like free 🙂

  17. You will have to do some research but I think we used the free curriculum from TEA (Texas Education Agency). It has been about 5 or 6 years since we taught her but I think we just spent the $20 to apply for the stuff from the state and then followed what the TEA had online. When we went to the DPS office they just asked us which one we used. Now it has been a few years since our oldest two went through the program so things may have changed.

    Start with this link to do some looking

    • Kristi,
      The free curriculum is no longer one of the state-approved options; I think it was phased out very recently. It’s even part of the packet, but there is a disclaimer saying that it’s not approved. Strange, isn’t it?

  18. Gabrielle says:

    Oh, and if you do the online course, you could always have both your girls do it together, with just one login, if it works for your family to do that….

  19. Gabrielle says:

    I’m not sure about sibling discounts, but the cheapest course that we found for me was $74, and that was an online thing. You can get a textbook for an additional $55, and a CD for $10, and a DVD for $55. This stuff just gets expensive! I’m not sure if the other courses that do textbooks are less expensive with more people, but we were just trying to find the cheapest for just one, since it is just me doing it. I just wish that Texas would still let us do the free course that my sister did only 2 years ago…..I suppose that they didn’t like that we could do it for free, though. The government is like that. 🙂

  20. From what I’ve been told, the new curriculum contains a certificate for a driver’s permit, and the state will only let you use it for one child. Friends of mine have purchased the curriculum they want used, then buy the absolute cheapest option for later kids, solely for the purpose of the certificate for the permit. It’s ridiculous.

    • Jeana,
      If we have to pay each time, I love your friend’s idea of buying the best once for all, then getting El Cheapo certificates for each child. Smart people!

  21. If you ask the bureaucrat and don’t get the answer you want, hang up and call again. You’ll get a different answer every time.

    • That is so true on most everything! I have thanked the person to whom I had been speaking, said that I would have to think about whatever it was we had been discussing, hung up, and dialed again. And have gotten an answer “I wanted” i.e. one that made sense.

Don't just think it: say it!

%d bloggers like this: