How to Get a Driver’s License for Homeschoolers
Getting a driver’s license can be one of the most exciting moments for students during their high school career. Like carrying around gold, excited students will carry around their new found freedom in the form of a plastic card showing everyone. “I’ve got my driver’s license!”
Really, what that driver’s license is saying is, “I’ve got freedom! I have responsibility! I have opportunity! I’m an adult!” It’s quite a wonderful thing for kids desiring independence and responsibility in their lives. None of this is different when talking about homeschool and alternative education students.
Obtaining a driver's licence can be a different process for everyone, and there are parts you will need to become familiar with in your situation. Yet, unless an individual has any other legally restrictive circumstances, it is absolutely the legal right of students receiving an accredited education to have the opportunity to get a driver’s license or learner’s permit.
Before we begin general requirements, know that homeschoolers’ paperwork have often been dismissed as invalid or incomplete. Please finish reading this article and the paperwork requirements specific to your state from the local DMV website to know what is required of your student and family.
Here is what we will be discussing in this article
- What is required of kids under the age of 18 to apply for a learner’s permit or driver’s license.
- What is required of homeschool students who wish to apply for a learner’s permit or driver’s license beyond the public requirements.
- Four different ways to apply for a driver’s license or a learner’s permit as a homeschooler.
I remember the frustrating moment: I had taken time off work in advance, driven across town, waited in line, walked up to the counter and heard, “I’m sorry, you don’t have all the required paperwork.” These moments come for all of us at the seemingly perfect time to wreak havoc on our schedules and patience.
When these things happen, it can be hard to not be bothered by it. In some states, before the government acknowledged homeschooling, students were turned away with their records and diplomas and transcripts as “invalid”.
If you are reading this article though, you are already in a better place than you were before. We will discuss the general requirements and where to go to research state-specific requirements for homeschool students to get their learner’s permit or driver’s license.
But why has it been so hard for homeschoolers to get approved for a driver’s permit? To set you at ease, I want to mention that it has become progressively easier. The part that has made it difficult is proving the validity of the student’s education.
Requirements for All Students
Although every state varies in specific requirements or actions being met, there are a few things every state requires. For specific actions for your state, please click here and scroll down to “Licenses for adults and minors; GDL laws” to find your state. Here you will find specific requirements, including:
Requirement #1: When applying for a learner’s permit, every student must be at the minimum age.
Each state has decided upon their own minimum required age for a learner’s permit. These requirements vary widely per state. It is the responsibility of the family and student to know this information. As this article discusses homeschool students, a homeschool student is not exempt and must be the minimum age required in his or her state of residence to apply for a learner’s permit.
Requirement #2: When applying for a driver’s license, every student must be the minimum age for a full (unrestricted) license.
Each state has decided upon their own minimum required age for a driver’s license. These requirements vary widely per state. It is the responsibility of the family and student to know this information. As this article discusses homeschool students, a homeschool student is not exempt and must be the minimum age required in their state of residence to apply for a driver’s license.
Requirement #3: Every applicant, no matter what circumstance (until the age of 18), must be either enrolled in and receiving an accredited education, or pass and furnish records of high school equivalency (GED, HiSET Test).
Every state in the U.S. has made education a priority since the No Child Left Behind Act, which set the trajectory for every state to adopt its own compulsory age of attendance. To further ensure that every student has the opportunity to receive an accredited education, they must be either enrolled in an accredited education program (public, private or homeschool), or have the equivalency of a high school education (GED or HiSET test passed). With that, if a child within the ages of his or her compulsory age of attendance is not receiving an accredited education or has not already passed the equivalency and proficiency exams in their state, that person will not be able to apply for a driver’s license.
Homeschool/Alternative School Specific Requirements
Homeschool Specific Requirement #1: Know Your State’s Specific Homeschool Designations and Laws.
Not every state views homeschool and even private online schools the same. Even the differences between Texas and Virginia are worth noting. For your own interest, I would encourage you to be familiar with the local homeschooling laws and regulations. To do this, you can begin research at your local DMV website or begin an online search for your local automotive laws.
Homeschool Specific Requirement #2: Know and be able to explain the Superintendent-approved public school exemption you or your student have received from the local board of education.
Some of the difficulty in obtaining a driver’s permit or paperwork approval comes down to understanding. It would be good to note that there is very little likelihood that anyone working at your DMV has any extensive experience with homeschooling or the education system. They may not know anything about homeschooling or how you have gone about it. Come prepared to share and explain to your local DMV the type of education (accredited, private online, tutor, etc.) your student is receiving.
Consider reviewing Enlightium Academy’s state blogs for an informative article on the state laws from your state.
Four Different Ways to Apply for a Driver’s License or Learner’s Permit at the DMV as a Homeschooler or Private Online Student:
- For students of private-online schools like Enlightium Academy, bring a verification of enrollment and the latest report card to prove active enrollment. If you are a student of a private online school, simply contact a registrar and have them send your information.
- For students of traditional book-based homeschool curriculum, have a notification of curriculum and student progress approval from the superintendent of your local board of education. Contact your local board of education to offer a notification of approval and have your student portfolio with you if necessary to show current work and grades.
- For students of traditional book-based homeschool curriculum who don’t have access to their local superintendent, provide a portfolio and student progress review from a state-certified education specialist to your local DMV. To do this, contact a certified state teacher or tutor (possibly someone with a career in education and a master’s in education) to give a professional portfolio and student progress review. Once the portfolio and student progress review has been approved, attain a written approval of this event.
- For any alternative education student (homeschool, private, online), consider enrolling in a driver’s education program. This is not directly applying for a learner’s permit or a driver’s license, but it can help those processes. This will help you familiarize yourself with the local automotive laws and how they relate to alternative education students, and it will also give the DMV a record of you that proves you are in good standing.
Enlightium Academy is an accredited alternative schooling option for educating your child from home. Our program offers the comfort of a homeschool environment with a quality private school curriculum. Enlightium Academy is a private Christian school that offers a Bible-based, flexible, accredited, teacher supported, and affordable education. Enlightium Academy meets all accreditation and state education requirements for all 50 states, while neither using the state curriculum or Common Core.