South Dakota Homeschool Laws

General Overview of The Homeschooling Laws In South Dakota

South Dakota education laws state that at the beginning of a school year in which a child will be, or is, 5 years of age by September 1st, it is compulsory for them to be enrolled in and attend school. Homeschooling is permitted provided certain notifications are made, and that provision is made for teaching specified subjects, minimum levels of teaching time are provided, and that the child sits standardized tests at specific grades.

Notification of Intent to Homeschool In South Dakota

The notification of intent to homeschool a child in South Dakota is done by completing a form, and this must be done annually for each year you plan to homeschool the child. The form is available online at the South Dakota Department of Education website.

Below is a short video about homeschool laws in South Dakota:

The form must be validated by the signature of two witnesses, or notarized. The notice is effective immediately, and, therefore, you can begin to homeschool the child, without waiting for a reply from the department.

When you first submit the form, you must include a copy of the child’s birth certificate, or a notarized affidavit confirming that the child is the same as the one who is the subject of the application.  If you fail to comply with these legal requirements you will be committing a misdemeanor under South Dakota state law.

Qualifications Required to Homeschool In South Dakota

There is no requirement under South Dakota state laws relating to homeschooling for any parent or legal guardian who wishes to homeschool their child or children to have any formal teaching or educational qualifications.

Number of Days/Hours of Instruction Required for Homeschoolers In South Dakota

The stipulation for homeschooling is that parents or legal guardians must teach a child for ‘an equivalent period of time’ that children in public schools are taught. This can vary depending on the local school district, but in general, the requirement is for public schools to teach for the equivalent of nine months per year.

What Subjects Need to Be Covered in Home Education (and for how long) In South Dakota?

South Dakota regulations in respect of homeschooling make stipulations in terms of the subjects which should be taught, and in relation to the testing of children being homeschooled. There are only two compulsory subjects that must be taught, and these are language arts and mathematics. For all subjects, the local school district is obliged to loan textbooks to homeschooled children.

In respect to the testing which must be done if a child is being homeschooled, these take place when the child is in grades four, eight and eleven. The tests can either be the standardized test that is currently being used in the local school district or alternatively, any standardized test which is being used on a national basis can be used instead.

If the parent or legal guardian chooses to use the local standardized tests, the cost for these will be met by the South Dakota’s Department of Education. On the other hand, the parent or legal guardian must bear the cost if the tests taken are national standardized tests.

The results of any tests which a homeschooled child sits must be submitted to the local school district and a parent or legal guardian should keep a copy for their own records. In addition to test scores, a record of the progress the child has made in all areas of their homeschooling should be kept.

If any test scores show that a homeschooled child’s progress is ‘less than satisfactory,’ the local school board have the right to refuse any subsequent requests for the child to be exempt from public school. If this occurs, the parent or legal guardian of that child has the right to appeal the decision to South Dakota’s state board of education.

There is also the possibility that if at any time the state secretary of education has reason to believe that you are not complying with the law in relation to homeschooling your child, then they can request your homeschool’s records, having given 14 days written a notice that they wish to see those records.

Is Part-time Enrollment Permitted In South Dakota?

South Dakota’s homeschooling laws provide for the option of a homeschooled child to be enrolled part-time in a public school, however, the decision whether to allow it is made on a case by case basis and at the discretion of the local school district.

Are Homeschoolers Permitted to Participate in Extracurricular Activities In South Dakota?

Local school districts in South Dakota have the discretion to allow homeschooled pupils to participate in interscholastic and extra-curricular activities involving their public schools, but there are several conditions which apply. These conditions include being ineligible for the first year after leaving a public school, achieving satisfactory scores on tests, and maintaining an appropriate level of behavior while participating.

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