How Do I Homeschool In South Dakota?

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Homeschooling is a good option if you don’t want or can’t send your child to public school. However, it is essential to know the regulations of each state.

To homeschool in South Dakota, the requirements are: submitting an annual form notifying the child’s exemption from public school, taking some mandatory courses, keeping academic records, some standard tests, and assurance that the time devoted to education is the same as in public schools.

Here we will discuss the basic information about homeschooling in South Dakota, such as the laws, requirements, and access to public schools. If it is a topic that interests you, continue reading this article.

Homeschooling Options In South Dakota

The South Dakota Department of Education recognizes homeschooling as alternative education. There is only one option for homeschooling in South Dakota. The allowed age is from 6 to 18 years old. The parent or legal guardian must notify the local district to let them know the decision to study from home. The teacher does not need special qualifications, but some subjects are mandatory to teach in the state.

Before You Begin Homeschooling In South Dakota

Before starting homeschooling, consider the time you will need to invest. Classes at home are required to match the same hours as classes in public schools and must be proven before the Department of Education through a document.

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Following the same line, in South Dakota, there are some requirements imposed by law that must be met:

  • First, you must submit a form called Public School Exemption Certificate. This form will be provided by the Department of Education and must be completed each year you are homeschooling.
  • The student must take a state-regulated standard test for the fourth, eighth, or eleventh grade. This evaluation will demonstrate that the education provided at home is the same as that provided in public schools.
  • The amount of instruction time at home should be the same as in public schools. To prove it, you must record the hours established for teaching.
  • Language, art, and mathematics are compulsory subjects that must be included in the school program.
  • The records must be precise since the State of South Dakota has the right to request them when necessary to ensure academic progress.

The Public School Exemption Certificate form asks for basic information about the district where the public school is located and its exact location, children’s data, and parents’ or guardians’ data. When the parent submits the form, it is approved immediately, and no notification is needed to proceed to homeschool.

The cost of home education will depend on the academic program you have prepared. Textbooks and workbooks, the curriculum, activities, field trips, and materials will determine the educational expenditure.

Choosing A Homeschool Curriculum In South Dakota

In South Dakota, the curriculum style is left to the discretion of the parent, legal guardian, or instructor. In their planning, they should include language, arts, and mathematics.

One recommendation for choosing the right curriculum is identifying the best teaching method. Research the way your child learns and the way of teaching that you feel most comfortable with. In this way, you could save yourself wasting time and money on a curriculum that does not work for both of you.

Most companies that offer home-based learning materials and programs will provide a free trial period before signing up. Make sure to take advantage of these trials for any program that looks or feels like it would suit your child’s learning objectives.

To help start your search, here is a list of homeschooling options that have worked well for others.

Remember, the local library is a valuable resource and occasionally hosts free learning events for different age groups and grade levels. Community and Rec centers also have youth nights and social events and provide a safe location for individual and family exercise.

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Record Keeping For Homeschooled Students In South Dakota

In South Dakota, keeping a student record is required. The state may ask homeschooling parents to provide samples of work done during the academic year.

Essential documents to save include student attendance, textbooks, used workbooks, letters sent to your local district, examples of assignments from each grade, academic evaluations, and any other document that demonstrates the student’s educational progress.

The state can request these documents anytime to ensure homeschooling follows South Dakota guidelines. Therefore, keeping the papers for a minimum of two school years is advisable, but it is better to store them throughout the school’s educational process.

Homeschooling And Special Education Services In South Dakota

South Dakota has no additional regulations for homeschooling children with special needs. However, educating yourself on your child’s condition is advisable to have a more efficient approach to their learning process.

Homeschooled Students And Public Schools Access In South Dakota

The district’s public schools must give homeschooled children access to all the activities they want, mainly sports and arts.

Also, if the parents, legal guardians, and the child desire, the student may attend the district public school part-time. The district’s public school may also offer a loan to the homeschooled student to purchase necessary textbooks and workbooks.

If the student wishes to transfer from studying at home to a public school, the process is simple. Suppose the parents keep the student’s records up to date and their legitimate and verifiable documents that can demonstrate the level and quality of the child’s education.

In that case, they only need to take the student to the local district school for admission. Some schools will give a placement test to ensure that the student’s academic knowledge is suitable for the corresponding grade.

Testing And Graduation Requirements In South Dakota

If your child is in the fourth, eighth, or eleventh grade, they will need to take an achievement assessment from the state of South Dakota. Also, you can opt for an additional national standard test, but you will have to cover the cost of the evaluation.

The norm-referenced will be given free in mathematics and reading and will evaluate the student’s status compared to the average of students of the same grade. You should pick up the test at your district school in person, but you can send the results via mail.

If the student does not pass the standard assessment, the state of South Dakota has the right to deny the renewal of the child’s certificate of excuse for years to come, and they must attend public school.

South Dakota does not have any requirements for graduation because parents decide when students are ready to graduate and award their home school diplomas. However, suppose your child is looking to be admitted to college. In that case, it is advisable to look at the desired universities’ requirements to enroll and do academic planning starting from there.

Field Trips For Homeschooled Students In South Dakota

South Dakota has several areas perfect for field trips. Everything will depend on the instructor’s and student’s interests and the budget allocated for the trips. Some recommendations are:

  • Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
  • Newton Hills State Park
  • Richmond Lake Recreation Area
  • South Dakota Art Museum
  • Lake Poinsett Recreation Area
  • Jewel Cave National Monument
  • Hartford Beach State Park
  • Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center
  • Okobojo Point Recreation Area
  • Palisades State Park

Remember to assign tasks or assignments related to the field trip so they can be presented to the district school if they request it.

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Homeschool Associations, Groups, And Co-Ops In South Dakota

Groups and associations serve to support the homeschooling community. In South Dakota, several groups depend on each family’s area, beliefs, and teachings. The most advisable thing is to investigate each association to discover the best fit.


South Dakota has several requirements for homeschooling. As long as you keep sending the annual notification and complying with the request, you will not have any problem with this type of alternative education.


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