Deb Lewis

Dylan took the written portion of his driving test yesterday. His missed four questions out of thirty three but that was still good enough to pass. It was the first test he's ever taken. (Ok, that's not exactly true, he tested in Karate and Tae Kwon Do) So this is a report about a kid who was never tested (by teachers or school administrators) and who wasn't made to do a bunch of stuff he didn't want to do to get him ready to be in the real world. When people say a kid has to be forced to do things they're not comfortable with in order for them to be able to face the challenges of life here's one report to dispute that. <g>

Dylan doesn't like crowds or crowded places. When we got to the DMV he said it would be alright if I waited in the car because there were no free chairs in the waiting area. When I asked him if he'd rather I stay for moral support he told me if moral support was going to work it could work from the car just as well. <g> So, he had to pay the fees, fill out the form; name, address, place of birth, height, weight, etc. and he did that just fine. He came out to ask me what county he'd been born in because that wasn't on his birth certificate and I told him it wasn't a county it was a borough and it was Matanuska-Susitna and he asked me how to spell it. Mat-Su. <g>

Then just as he'd finished filling out the paperwork the test giver took another person out for a driving test so Dylan had to wait for her to return. He had a book with him, because he always has a book with him, so he was fine with waiting. Then the test - which he passed. Then the other stuff, the picture for the permit (he doesn't like having his picture taken) and the signature and he was back at the car where I waited, a bundle of anxious moral support.<g>

I asked him if he was nervous when he took the test and he said no. He said he's more nervous about driving because a mistake can mean somebody's crunched car but a test he could take again if he failed was nothing to worry over.

Dylan's been driving for a few years. I think he was eleven or twelve when he was first interested in driving so we'd go out on country roads for him to drive. He's kind of well known in town, known to the deputies, (which sounds bad, I know, but there's a perfectly reasonable explanation. <g>) so he hasn't had much experience driving right in town. Dylan was frequently out during the day, during school hours and he'd get stopped sometimes by the coppers and asked why he wasn't in school. After different deputies have stopped you in a small town a couple of times - pretty much every deputy knows you. <g> So, we didn't risk him driving in town very often without a permit. He didn't bother with a permit earlier, thought about it some, but didn't get one.

So, he didn't take the driving portion of the test, partly because he'd like some more experience driving in town and on the highway and partly because David (who's working in WA right now) has the car that he can test in. The car I'm driving doesn't have a muffler (well, it does, but it's in the trunk right now<g>) and the speedometer in the old truck doesn't work.

I know lot's of people younger than Dylan take and pass driving tests every day. I know most of them went to school. I know lots of young people who went to school have more legal driving experience than Dylan. But Dylan would have been really unhappy in school with the crowds and conformity and compliance. He would not have liked Driver's Ed, driving around with a big "student driver" sign on the car with an instructor who was grading him. He got a chance to be comfortably different and do things his own way. And he can do things that aren't comfortable for him, wait in a crowded place for a long time, get his picture taken, to get to what he wants. He didn't need his mommy with him even though he wasn't forced into early independence by being marched off to school at age five.<g> He didn't need thirteen years of school and tests to get him ready to take a test.

Deb Lewis

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== He would not have liked Driver's Ed, driving around with a big "student driver" sign on the car with an instructor who was grading him. ==

Around here (North Carolina, USA), as far as I know, teens have to take driver's ed before they can get a permit or driver's license. I think they do the same in Virginia because my son couldn't get a replacement driver's license up there since we couldn't get a copy of his driver's ed certificate. There are month long waiting lists to take it free at school. You can take a private course but it costs a couple hundred dollars.

My son took it when he was 15, in 9th grade at the DOD high school. He said it was pretty much a waste of time, especially the driving portion. I think each kid got only one time to practice driving with the instructor because there are so many kids in the classes and so many waiting. The instructors rush through and skip a lot and basically just move everyone on through.