1) a cell phone
2) a working knowledge of a car
When I say "without their parents on a regular basis", I mean as they start going to summer camps and school trips where mom and dad just aren't close enough to be of help. When I say a working knowledge of a car, I mean the ability to drive it for short distances, in an emergency, to get to safety or to get themselves or someone else help.
Please judge that however you will. I have no problems with the fact that people do not agree with me. I will still be teaching my kids to drive. That might stem from the fact that I got a crash course in driving when my choices were to either drive myself home from the middle of nowhere (that's how I learned to drive a stick too, coincidentally) or ride passenger with a drunk driver. OK, I believe the first time I drove very slowly home, the owner of the car was stoned, but impaired nonetheless.
So, Last Tuesday, before the kids left on their excellent adventure, I put Rebi behind the wheel and had her practice easing on the gas, easing off the gas, easing on the brake. She did really well, with only a few little jerks and violent stops.
Evan was in the back seat, and got a little cocky, saying he could drive better. So, I got the van all lined up to give him a nice stretch of straight with very few obstacles on either side. He checked his mirrors, released the emergency brake, eased off the brake, and then pretty much stomped on the gas. Apparently I was not clear enough in telling him the gas pedal requires VERY LITTLE pressure. I should have said NO pressure.
Completely freaked out, his utter panic was only made worse by me saying,
"brake brake BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE!"At this point, Evan accidentally moved the wheel a little and we started hurtling towards a tree. Which made him even more freaked out and he still couldn't get his foot to the brake pedal. I very nearly dropped the engine from the car by slamming it into neutral. And as soon as that happened, he smashed his foot into the brake pedal.
We screeched to a halt, noses to the windshield, not so much worse for wear, but with a healthier respect for mom's driving. I gave myself a few minutes to catch my breath again and put him back in the driver's seat where he was much better about easing on and off the gas and certainly moved his foot to the brake in a more timely manner.
I wonder if I could buy a used Driver's Ed car with the passenger side brake. Because that would make teaching 5 kids to drive a whole lot less nerve wracking.