In the laws below you'll see the term "alternative instruction." It refers to families who have decided to take their children's education into their own hands, and those children are not attending a state accredited school full time. To become an alternative instruction student you must file a notification with the state. Currently the terms homeschooler and Alternative Instruction student are synonymous.
In South Dakota you can decide if you want to start your child in kindergarten when the turn are five or six, but they must start before they are seven and cannot start before they are five as of September 1st of that school year . See the SDLC here.
Yes, all you have to do is fill out the notification form and you are an officially homeschooling in South Dakota. However if your child is playing high school sports and you leave the public school program mid-term your child may lose some athletic eligibility. Please do extensive research on this prior to filing the notification form.
This is a very simple process thanks to Senate Bill 177! All you need to do is follow this link and put in your child's name, birth date, and the district in which you reside. That's it, no birth certificates, no affidavits, you don't even put in your personal address! You only have to do it one time for each child unless you move, or decide to put your child into an accredited school. https://doe.sd.gov/oatq/homeschooling.aspx
South Dakota trusts that families will decide what is best for their children to learn and how to teach it. You do not have to be a certified teacher or hold any degrees to homeschool your children. In fact, you can homeschool up to 22 children. The only legal requirements are found in SDLC 13-27-3 and it says that by notifying the State you are telling them that your child is being provided with the basic skills in math and language arts. There are no time constraints or requirements. If you want to homeschool for 4 days a week, you can. If you want to homeschool year round with lengthy breaks for holidays, you can. Your homeschool does not have to look like public school!
Of course you're likely going to want to teach more than basic math and language arts, but how you do it and which curriculums you use are completely up to you! See our resources page to see more about learning the ways your child might learn best and see which curriculums we like!
Also please note that the expense of homeschooling is also all up to you.
The simple answer is no. The state cannot ask for these items. However, homeschoolers can technically be subject to truancy investigations (very rare). If a school official or a member of the community decided to file a truancy complaint, you would want to be able to prove to the officer or the court that you are instructing your child in the basic skills of math and language arts. We advise keeping a record for each year. This can be as basic as a photograph each day, a calendar where you jot down notes for each child for each day, or just toss all their work into a tote and save it for a year.
No, since the passage of SB 177 in 2021 there are no longer any standardized test requirements for homeschool students unless they are partially enrolled in the local public school 50% or more. If your child is interested in college you will want to see if their admissions requires the SAT, ACT, CLT or other exams.
Thanks to SB 177 all homeschool children have the right to participate in any school sanctioned activities and sports without having to classes, unless that activity requires a class (like choir). You will have to follow all school policies on eligibility and admission, including vaccination policy, insurance, attendance in any classes that are required for that activity and practices. The school may require you to submit the previous semester's transcripts to prove that your child is academically eligible. That transcript should show that your child has taken and passed 4 classes with two of them being English Language Arts and Math. See full law here.
Yes! You just need to call the school and advise them that you would like to sign up for part time classes. Be warned however, if you are are going more than part time you may be obligated to take standardized tests. Also if you enter the school you may be asked to provide all standard paperwork.
In elementary school and middle school this is not an issue and most schools will re-admit a homeschool child with minimal complications. In sophomore-senior year this becomes very complicated. Many public schools will refuse to accept homeschool course work even if it's from nationally accredited sources. So homeschooling through high school does take some special consideration. If it is important to you that your child graduate on time, with their class and with a public school diploma, you want to reach out to your school to check on their policies and give homeschooling special consideration.
Yes. SDCL 13-38-41 specifically grants the right to homeschool students to change districts. You must complete all corresponding paper work. The new district may NOT require your student to take classes in order to play sports or participate in activities. The only way a district can deny an open enrollment application is if the school is over crowded, however if your homeschool student is not seeking classes, they cannot deny your application. Be warned however that high school athletic eligibility does not always follow open enrollment. If your high school student is looking to compete in a new district you will need to make sure you have qualified through the SDHSAA eligibility guidelines found here specifically pages 8 and 9.
Yes. While most public schools cover the cost of dual enrollment for their students, homeschoolers do not have that resource. You will have to pay the cost of the college program out of pocket. Find more information here.
As a homeschool teacher you decide what your child needs to graduate! You will create and print a homeschool diploma and issue it as proof of their high school graduation. If your child is college bound this requires special consideration. You will need to have a transcript that proves that your child has completed all the required prerequisites to fulfill the schools admission requirements. Most colleges and universities in the United States happily accept homeschool diplomas and actively recruit homeschool students. If your child is interested in college sports you will want to familiarize yourself with the NCAA requirements which can be found here.