Truth About Homeschooling in South Dakota You Need to Know

By Dr. Jon

State laws change from time to time and though we try to keep the laws up-to-date at all times please check with the department of education for any changes that may have occurred.

If you think homeschooling is the best educational option for you and your children – and it probably is – then you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to show you how to start homeschooling in SD. We’ve pooled together information related to the educational potential of The Mount Rushmore State, looked over the South Dakota homeschool requirements and selected the best online resources that will keep you and your children happily and successfully learning at home.

Without further ado, let’s dive in with an infographic and video below to help you create a homeschool that thrives.

Homeschooling in South Dakota

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The Mount Rushmore State

Rich in history and traditional culture, South Dakota is a great place to get your children educated. You’ve got plenty of learning opportunities, from camping and hiking, to arts and history museums.

The famous Mount Rushmore is a great opportunity to explore both nature and history, and your children will love the world-famous sculptures. The Custer State Park is a great place to go hiking and see the splendid buffalos, and the Badlands National Park offers some of the best US desert landscapes.

If history’s what your children are into, they’ve got plenty of chances to learn about the Native American history, at the Akta Lakota Museum, in Chamberlain, or explore the Old Courthouse Museum, in Sioux Falls (the entry is free here, by the way).

Art and sciences are well represented in South Dakota, too. Your children can admire the beautiful exhibits of the Corn Palace, in Mitchell, and the technological marvels of the South Dakota Air and Space Museum will fascinate your little science fans.

South Dakota Homeschool Laws

To begin homeschooling in SD, you’ll first need to file a notarized exemption request with the local school district. This request must be renewed annually.

Though you’re not required to have any qualifications, you will need to provide instruction in “the basic skills of language arts and mathematics”, and offer an instructional time equivalent to that offered by the public school.

You’ll have to do some minimal bookkeeping – birth certificates, assessment and attendance records – and your children will be tested in grades 2,4,8 and 11. If their progress is deemed unsatisfactory, your next exemption request may not be renewed. You can find out more about the legal requirements in South Dakota here.

Homeschooled children can be enrolled part-time in the local public school and they can take part in extracurricular activities, but they won’t benefit from public school special needs services.

South Dakota Homeschool Friendliness Grade: C

We’re giving South Dakota a C in terms of homeschool friendliness, since it doesn’t allow parents to start homeschooling without notifying the authorities, and because of the relatively detailed approval process.

However, the legal requirements are pretty reasonable, and you shouldn’t have any problems homeschooling in the Mount Rushmore State.


Homeschooling in South Dakota shouldn’t be too difficult, even though you’ll need to submit an annual exemption request to the local school district. If you’re determined to offer your children the best education possible, you’ll soon find out that homeschooling is a beautiful, albeit challenging experience.

The vibrant local homeschool community is a resource you should make full use of, as there’s so much to learn and so many beautiful people to meet. Get social and join one of the many homeschool associations today – you’ll have the chance to offer your children that crucial social interaction they’re otherwise likely to miss.

If you have any questions, feel free to share them in the comments below, or contact us for more information – we’ll be more than happy to help you. Remember, homeschooling can be a great social experience, and if you do it right, your children will love you even more.

Good luck homeschooling in South Dakota – we’re sure you’ll love it every step of the way!

Resources: - the official HSLDA website is a great place to find legal information and news related to homeschooling in South Dakota - this is a secular group dedicated to homeschoolers in and around Sioux Falls - this is a Christian group where you’ll find plenty of resources, ideas and meetup opportunities

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