A question for Oppo parents, and those who recently got their driver license.

My oldest son turned 15 last September, and he’s starting to ask about getting a learner’s permit. In TX, I have two options for getting him trained:

1. Driver education school. This option would cost anywhere from $300-500, and all the initial classroom and OTR training would be handled by the school. He would get his 32 hours of classroom training, plus 14 hours of driver training. After that, the parents do 30 hours of training OTR, but the training may not exceed 1 hour at a time, though this is on the honor system. This is attractive, since kids tend to listen to other adults more than their parents, and anecdotal evidence from friends is that their kids learned more in this setting. The downside is the time getting him to and from the school, and trying to schedule the OTR training. And the cost.

2. Parent-Taught Driver Education (PTDE). This option costs $20 to purchase a packet of information, then $50-100 for an online course. The course is 32 hours, and the student may not exceed 2 hours of coursework per day (the course cannot be completed in less than 16 days). After that, the parents are responsible for 30 hours of OTR training. The upside is that the cost savings is significant, but the downside is the same as above, where kids tend to learn more in a classroom setting, without parents. There is also a benefit to having a structured course taught by somebody who (supposedly) has experience—and patience—teaching teens to drive.

So, what are your thoughts, Oppo? Do any of you have experience with one or the other? Oppo parents, would you have a preference?

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