Saturday, October 9, 2010

Driver's Ed

Ben had to take Driver's Ed classes this week. When I was growing up, Driver's Ed was an optional course you could take if you wanted. Hawaii state law requires Driver's Ed if you are under the age of 18 and want to get a license.

I could have signed Ben up with the local high school but I understood from others who have gone before us that this could mean a wait of around eight months (homeschoolers obviously don't get first priority over the students who actually attend the high school). The course is thirty hours, and this means every Tuesday and Thursday night for weeks until all information has been covered. I wanted to just get this over with, so I signed Ben up for an intensive four-day course that one of his friends was also taking. We figured it was a good way to get the course out of the way quickly and he would know someone in the class. Hooray.

The first day, we arrived early. It was taking place at a local elementary school and, not being familiar with the area, I wanted to allow time to get lost and try to find our way around. When we pulled into the parking lot of the school, there were several tough looking local high schoolers standing around waiting for the class to start. Ben opted to wait in the car with me until his friend Alex showed up.

Unfortunately, Alex was running late, and I had another appointment I had get to. I finally looked at Ben and told him, "It's going to be really embarrassing when I am trying to shove you out of the car with my feet and you are hanging on to the edge screaming, 'No, Mommy! Don't leave me here!' "

He gave me a teenager look and went in. I paid the teacher an astronomical amount of money and verified the time. "I'm supposed to pick him up at 4:00?"

"No, we'll get out at 3:00," he told me.

Ben texted me later and told me they were getting out at 2:30.

When I picked him up I brightly asked what sort of things they had learned.

"We had to read chapters of the driver's manual and then act out scenes from it."

"The driver's manual that you studied in order to take your driver's exam? That manual? You just read it again and made skits out of it?"

"Yep. And we took an hour and a half for lunch and had several long breaks and it all counted as class time."

"Wow. Well I think you're supposed to watch several films about drinking and driving and stuff, so I bet all that comes tomorrow."

The next day they read the manual out loud to each other and then made road signs out of construction paper. Ben made a "deer crossing" sign because there are no deer in Hawaii. They got out at 2:30 again.

The next day, the instructor was sick so class was cancelled. He told us there would be a makeup day around Christmas time. I told Kerry I bet there would never be a makeup day.

The next day the teacher told us they really didn't need a makeup day and he let them out at 1:00. He bought Ben and Alex lunch because all the other teens left and walked to a fast food place nearby while Ben and Alex had brought sandwiches.

"He bought you lunch?" I was astounded.

"Yeah, we tried to say no but we really wanted to say yes so we weren't very emphatic with our no," Ben told me. "We're the only ones who don't swear in class and we speak up and answer the questions correctly so I think he likes us."

I asked him what they had done on the last day.

"We had our final exam. The teacher told us all to write down three questions we thought should be on the test. Then he asked us all those questions. He would read one question, we would write down the answer, then he would tell us what the answer should be and read us the next question."

"So if someone got it wrong, they could just change their answer?"

"Yep," Ben told me. "And some of them still got answers wrong. The teacher asked us what was the most important thing about driving then he told us, "It starts with "A" and ends with "-titude". One kid wrote down, "Check your mirrors".

One of the questions was, "What do you do when you come to a stop sign?"

Ben passed the class.

It was a total waste of time and money, but a requirement for him to get his license. Now he just has to go driving with his teacher for six hours and driving with his parents for fifty hours, ten of which must be after dark.

Pray for me.

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