Do It Yourself No-Cost Driver’s Training for California Homeschoolers: Homeschool Hangout

Today we are talking about how you can conduct your child’s driver’s training in the state of California if you are a private homeschooler for no cost. Yes, you heard me. You can legally conduct your own driver’s training for your child as an independent homeschooler in the state of California. How awesome is that? 

So first up, I am not a lawyer. I do not pretend to be a lawyer. I don’t even play one on television. This is purely what has worked for us and is not constituting any form of legal advice. Once again not a lawyer not giving legal advice.

We all know in public school now that they don’t really offer driver’s training and many don’t even offer driver’s education. As a homeschooler (and just a person who values money) I was very intimidated by the cost of paying for driver’s training. So when I started hearing rumblings by people who’ve been around a little longer than me saying you don’t have to pay for driver’s training. I was like what? So the real question is, how do I save $400 for 6 hours of instruction? To be clear, driver’s training is usually just about 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction. I got pointed in a direction by a friend and the research began! 

This is the process that worked for me. I will be very honest, I’ve read a lot of the education codes having to do with homeschooling in California. I didn’t really find anything in the DMV write ups (vs forms) or in the education code regarding this. Basically, I haven’t found a law or law explainer. Mostly, I just found forms. But, I have done this process from the beginning all the way through to a licensed driver with my 17 year old. We are about to begin it again with my 15 year old.

You can use this process to do both driver’s education and driver’s training. We only did driver’s training. Frankly, our time was worth the $10 we spent on a Groupon for a driver’s education class. But as I said, this is a process good for both if you would like.

The big part of this experience is going to be guided by the DMV form DL396. Basically, this goes to the occupational licensing section of the DMV. So let’s take a look at that form real quick.

A Look at the DL396

  • The first thing you do is choose your type of school. If you are here, I am assuming you are a Home School or Private Satellite Program.
  • Now enter your basic information. This will match the PSA information. A CDS code is only issued to schools with more than 6 students so if you are part of a PSSP, you need to get that from your group admin. For those of us with less than 6 students, we don’t have one. Nor do we have a School ID number. Don’t worry about it, leave them blank.
  • You are the requester, not your PSSP if you are in one. This is basically where you want it and who they will follow up with if there are questions. 
  • The date of request is the date you are doing this.
  • At the bottom of section one you can put the dates you need them. If you want them ASAP you can put today’s date but if you don’t need them until the next semester, put that.
  • In Section 2 you just select what applies to you. We are not public or charter schools. So don’t check it;). Then check the next 2 boxes in Section 2. This just says that you are going to teach the actual law and responsibility to your student and keep the records. 
  • In Section 3 there are a variety of boxes and you only choose the ones that apply to you. 
  • You are not a private secondary school really. A school like Fresno Christian or Memorial would qualify as that. Don’t check those.
  • You will need to include a copy of your PSA.
  • Decide if you are doing both Driver’s Education and Driver’s Training and mark the appropriate boxes.
  • You are not teaching “non-classroom” Driver’s Education. If you hire out Driver’s Education, they will issue the completion certificate. So leave all 3 of those blank.
  • Section 4 is just your expected amount of students for the year. That’s it.
  • Section 5 is where you list anyone who will be part of the official teaching and mark parent. Because you are a parent, you don’t need to worry about a teaching credential or a background summary.
  • Then sign it.

That is it for that form! Next, we move onto DL396A. Another fancy-sounding form but it just requests supplies. You put your school name at the top and select what you need. Remember that you are a homeschool. The majority of items come in private secondary or homeschool. So just make sure you choose the homeschool option. 

You will also need to keep a copy of DL803 in your drawer. Some people say to send in a copy every year, I haven’t found anything official that actually says that. So I just keep it in my file cabinet. It tracks your issuing of the completion certificates. You don’t actually do anything with it but keep it in case there are rogue certificates out there, you can answer for where yours went.

That is basically all there is to it! You need to mail in the completed DL396, DL 396A, and a copy of your PSA. You will get your supplies in the mail and are good to teach! There are more stories and anecdotes in the video but this written article seems to be long enough to bore you. So I leave you to watch the video for all the details of how we personally handle it with our kiddos. Let me know if you have any questions!

34 thoughts on “Do It Yourself No-Cost Driver’s Training for California Homeschoolers: Homeschool Hangout”

  1. I followed your directions but my question is where do I find the information about what I am supposed to teach for the drivers training?

    1. For the driver’s education side, use the free legal handbook the DMV provides. For the training side.. I think there are resources online at the DMV somewhere but really you are just teaching them to physically drive. They pass the law stuff for the permit and now you are helping them put it into practice.

  2. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You totally saved the day for us. The process was super easy and we got our form, surprisingly, within a week.

  3. Thank you so much for the great information video, you made it so easy! I have a question: the forms must be mailed or can they be taken in person to the DMV?

  4. Thank you so much for this! Once mailed off, do you know how long it takes to get the returned forms? Also there is a line on their learners permit where you sign as a verified instructor. Do we have to wait for the paper work back from the DMV?

    1. Usually a week or 2 to get it back. I wait until we get it back before we sign it just to be official.

  5. This is great, thanks! I was going to send this off now for the coming school year, does it matter that the PSA isn’t current until October? Also, I have two school names, “Elementary/MiddleSchool Name AND Highschool Name”, on the PSA, do I need to actually put them both in? …. probably so.

    1. You probably should put both on there. I don’t think that you need to worry about it not being current, I think I sent mine in over the summer the first time.

  6. I registered for and obtained a School ID over 3 years ago when I taught my oldest. Now my next in line is ready to test and we can’t seem to find where we obtained a blank certificate (DL 388C). Where can I get extra copies? DMV tells me to go to the Occupational Licensing Division and the OLD tells me to go to the DMV. Anything I can use in its place? Or anyone I can pay to overnight me a copy?

  7. Hi, our son is a senior and is taking online classes through a private Christian school where he is officially enrolled. Would this not work for us?

  8. Do you need to wait till you recieve the forms from DMV before you start the behind the wheel training? My son already has his permit.

  9. Hello! My daughter already took one behind-the-wheel lesson to get her permit signed, now she is a couple of weeks away from testing. She has already put almost all of the 6 months in. I was going to schedule the last two lessons before she tests (the school we were going through doesn’t require them all at once) but I found you and want to finish it myself. Is there going to be a problem with starting with a driving school and ending with me? =) I hope that makes sense! Lol. Thank you for all you are doing!!!

  10. HI! Thank you for this video! My question is if my daughter takes one drivers training class with a company and then I decide to become her instructor will that mess anything up? Or do I have to be the instructor from start to finish?

  11. Hi! I just wanted to hop back on here and say THANK YOU!! Thank you for your hard work in figuring all this stuff out! I followed your instructions here and my daughter just got her license last week! We had NO issues with this! They sent me the cert of completion to fill out and a few days later sent me a letter saying that I was approved to teach! All she had to do was take in the form and her permit. This saved me having to do two more behind the wheel classes which would have been $200. Can’t wait to start this from the beginning with the next one in line! Lol!

  12. 2023- there is another form, Form 396 B or I checked the wrong boxes. We have 70 families here in LA County. One wants to teach the 2 parts of Driver’s Ed.
    Also, the form to order materials is different from what you described, I used the link to access it.

    1. I am actually walking through this all again for another child and I don’t see anything different. Also, you need to list each parent who is teaching their own kid! (Just a reminder)

  13. If you are teaching both the classroom and behind the wheel training, do you enter 1 in each of the classroom, behind the wheel and total number of students? Or am I over thinking this?

  14. How long did it take to get the packet from the DMV? We sent ours 3+weeks ago, but nothing has been received by the DMV yet. My 17 yo is anxiously awaiting it since she has her permit and we’re ready to go. Should I call somehow and check? A little leary to do that as I don’t want to put up red flags:) Thanks!

  15. So we’re still waiting for the paperwork from the DMV. We sent it at the end of July. Will it be a a large envelope or box? I truly wish I would have sent it certified mail, so I could know if the DMV actually received it! I feel bad for my daughter because she has her permit and is ready to go. We just need to sign off on it after the first 2 hour session as the “driving instructor ” and then it allows practice with the parents, and to finish off the remaining 2 driving courses with the “instructor “. I think my husband might call that DMV department to find out if they actually received the paperwork.

  16. Hi, as you said it is almost impossible to find info on this. I do not have a PSA since we go through a charter school. I am fully homeschooling but just turn in our reports to them. Do you know if this will still work for us? Thanks so much.

    1. This will not work for you. As far as the law is concerned, you are fully in public school. You have to be an independent homeschooler in California who files a PSA to qualify for this.

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