An online driving course is an easy, inexpensive way to get both you and your AuPair feeling confident about her/his driving– before your au pair even arrives in the USA!
Here’s a tip from TexasHostMom—
Our first AP was 26 when she arrived and had been driving for some time, so I never thought we’d have to worry about her driving. But when she arrived and got her behind the wheel, it turned out she was a terrible driver.
I frantically looked at driving schools and private lessons, as folks have advised here on AuPairMom. I had a Brazilian friend take her out and practice in her native language. But it wasn’t until we had her take the online driving course (6 hours of videos and quizzes) that we saw marked improvement.
Since then, we have had our new APs take the online driving course while they were still in their home country prior to arrival and (knock on wood) we haven’t had a weak driver since!
The online driving course can strengthen overall driving skill and confidence of APs.
And, you can do it before they even arrive in your home, so they don’t have to get confident at driving while they are learning everything else.
I’ve found that the videos and visual learning approach really helps an APs understanding– much more effectively than handing them the printed drivers’ manual. The videos review in detail the different road signs, rules, and regulations, etc. These are typically the things that we have seen APs really struggle with in the past. You can repeat the sections as many times as you like.
Polish Their Driving Before They Get Here
I find that sending them the (pre-paid) link to the driving course while they are still in their home country allows them to focus on the material better (vs when they are starstruck and drinking from the firehose upon arrival here and trying to also learn our family, schedule, routine, city and US).
All our APs who have taken the online course have felt a lot better about driving here.
The course also also made things easier for me, since we were able to ramp quickly getting au pairs adjusted to our cars and neighborhood. All they needed to practice was parallel parking. ;)
Polish Their Driving, Polish Their English
The videos and tests are all in English. (You might be able to take them in other languages but I have never looked into it). Ironically, the online course tends to help their English! APs can take notes, look up the words they don’t understand and then watch the video again to make sure they understand.
The Online Course Serves As Another Test: Of Enthusiasm
This is probably me reading too much into it, so I caution myself and others, but I also like that I can see how they approach the whole task of getting ready to arrive.
For example, our first AP really struggled and it took her over 5 weeks to complete the online course! Our second had it done in 4 days during her holiday break with her family. Our incoming AP this November is chomping at the bit to get started on it but we are waiting until closer to her arrival so the info will stay fresh.
If, however, I matched with an AP that either didn’t make it a priority to work on the course (not that it needs to be done in 4 days, but if I pay for it and send to them and they haven’t logged in within a week I would start wondering) or if for some reason she can’t pass the quizzes (never had this happen) then those would be big red flags for me. This might help us dodge a bullet and find another match in time.