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Homeschooling in South Dakota
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Rich in history and traditional culture, South Dakota is a great place to educate your children. Whether you and your child are nestled in your living room, on a field trip to Mount Rushmore, learning at a park, enjoying a homeschool group activity, or studying in a waiting room at the doctor's office, you will benefit from one of the greatest blessings of homeschooling: growth and togetherness.


How do you legally homeschool in South Dakota?


It is important to note that homeschool laws can change. Therefore, it is essential to consult the South Dakota Department of Education website and double-check the current homeschool laws each year. 


Parent Responsibilities


  1. Complete the Notification for Public School Exemption Certificateform for exemption from public school attendance and submit it to the public school district office where you reside (SDCL 13-27-2).
  • The parent must complete and file the Notifications for Public School Exemption Certificate each year you plan to homeschool (annually).
  • The parent must declare an exemption for students up to age 18 (SDCL 13- 27-1).
  • The parent must provide instruction in language arts and math. 
  • The parent will need to provide instruction for an “equivalent period of time, as in the public schools."
    • Minimum of 437 hours/yearfor kindergarten students 
    • Minimum of 875 hours/yearfor students in grades 1-5 
    • Minimum of 962 hours/yearfor students in grades 6-12
  • There is no requirement for the parent to be certified (SDCL 13-27-3).
  • The parent may not instruct more than 22 students.


  1. Your homeschool student must test in grades four, eight, and eleven (SDCL 13-27-3).
  • You can choose to have your child take the norm-referenced paper/pencil test for math and reading provided by the Department of Education at no cost to the parent.
  • Alternatively, you can choose to test your child with a nationally standardized achievement test of the basic skills at your own expense and send the test results to the local school district where you reside.


BJU Press Homeschool Testing and Evaluation Services

Your child can take the Iowa Assessments™ Form E achievement test online from the comfort of your own home. 


BJU Press Testing & Evaluation offers faster results with fewer requirements for Grades 3–12 with online tests.  


  • No shipping costs
  • Year-round testing
  • An approved test administrator is provided by the Testing & Evaluation service.

***Choose an adult to proctor the test in the comfort of your own home!

***No qualifications needed***

  • Testing will take approximately 4-8 hours over two to three days.
  • Testing results in 10 days


You can also order printed test materials for your student and select a local administrator to test your child. 



Ask a HomeWorks by Precept Consultant for more details on these testing options.

School District Responsibilities 


  1. Review and file the exemption form each year (annually) (SDCL 13-27-7).
  • Mail copies of completed exemption form to the South Dakota Department of Education and to the location of alternative school (home school) (SDCL 13-27-9).
  • Track home school students in the Student Information Management System (Infinite Campus System).


  1. Keep test score records (SDCL 13-27-7).
  • Provide tests for homeschooled students in grades 4, 8, and 11 within the district.
  • Inform parents of the testing window and material distribution time frame.
  • Send a copy of test results to homeschool parents and keep a copy on file. 
  • If students show less than satisfactory academic progress, the school board may refuse to renew the child's certificate of excuse.


  1. Loan textbooks (without charge) to all persons ages five to nineteen (SDCL 13-34-23).



If the South Dakota Department of Education has probable cause that the homeschool program may not comply with the law, they may request and inspect records of attendance and academic progress evidence to determine whether the instruction is being provided (SDCL 13-27-3).


While not all states require record-keeping, it is advisable to keep good records of your child's curriculum, attendance, sample assignments, tests, and other documents that would show academic progress. Records such as this prove helpful if you decide to re-enroll your child in a public or private school if your child would like to pursue post-high school education or in case the South Dakota Department of Education requests and inspects records of attendance and academic progress.


Additional Support and Resources 


Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)

HSLDA offers supportive information and resources, legislative advocacy, and legal representation benefits. Click >>> here <<< for more information on HSLDA. 


As a safeguard to protect the confidentiality of the information you submit with the exemption certificate to your school district, you may also choose to include a privacy notice. If you are a member of HSLDA, you can access and download a privacy notice form on their website.

AHE (Academy of Homeschool Education) 

A grading and record service provided by BJU Press Homeschool


  • Keeps track of student grades 
  • Sends quarterly report cards 
  • Includes annual standardized testing
  • Prepares official transcripts that detail the student's academic record, including results of standardized tests 
  • Holds annual graduation on the Bob Jones University campus
  • Incorporates Cash4College program, which allows you to earn tuition dollars toward enrollment at Bob Jones University with every curriculum purchase 
  • Offers dual credit options: Earn dual credit by taking residential or online Bob Jones University courses and have them count toward high school graduation requirements and college credits. 


Learn more about AHE >>> here.


South Dakota Homeschool Field Trip Ideas

Historic and culturally rich sites are nestled among the natural beauty that paints the lands of South Dakota. Explore the glacial lakes and outdoor adventure in the northeast. Visit the Black Hills, Badlands, and other inspirational places in the west. Experience the history of Lewis and Clark through central South Dakota as you venture near the Missouri River. Take in the bustling cities, quiet country landscapes, and family attractions of the southeast.


*Click on the locations below for a quick link to their corresponding website.


Art Alley, Rapid City

Lewis & Clark Recreation Area, Yankton

Aktá Lakota Museum & Cultural Center, Chamberlain

Mammoth Site, Hot Springs 

Badlands National Park

MEAD Cultural Education Center, Yankton

Bramble Park Zoo, Watertown

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Philip

City of Presidents walk 

Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower

Corn Palace 

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone

Crazy Horse Memorial, near Custer

Old Courthouse Museum

Custer State Park

Prairie Arboretum, Freeman

Devil’s Gulch Park, Garretson

South Dakota Air and Space Museum

Falls Park, Sioux Falls

Storybook Land/Wylie Park, Aberdeen

Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer

Union Grove State Park, Township

Kokomo Inn Gallery, Lemmon

Wind Cave National Park


Interscholastic Activities


At the discretion of the local member school, under SDCL 13-27-3, alternative instruction students may be granted permission by an accredited member school to participate in interscholastic activities by annually fulfilling the conditions listed in the printable pdf found >>> here.


We are all given gifts and talents that we can use to glorify God and encourage others in faith. Whether it be building, organizing, teaching, writing, singing, or creating, we can use our gifts to glorify God. Through our talents, we can spread the gospel message of faith and forgiveness through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. 


Here are a few resources for learning more about music and art:



Discover performing arts, music, and summer camps in South Dakota >>> here <<<

Local Resources for South Dakota's Homeschoolers


With the growing number of homeschoolers in South Dakota comes the added benefit of increasing homeschool programs and support. If you choose to register your child in one of these supportive programs, such as a co-op, inquire about record-keeping for credits, attendance, and grades. 

Your Local Library


Enquire with your local library about books related to your child's interests. Also, enquire about reading program options or if they offer an occasional class of interest.  


Social Media


Social media can be a valuable support tool where you can connect with other homeschool parents and inquire about local support groups, co-ops, sports options, and more. For your convenience, here are a few Facebook groups that you may find helpful:





A Homeschool co-op is a group of homeschoolers coming together to provide educational and/or social activities for their children.


  • Co-ops may consist of a few families or larger groups of families who have developed programs that offer classes to any homeschoolers who wish to participate. 
  • Larger groups typically require registration and charge fees to cover administration costs.
  • Homeschool co-ops may encourage or require parental participation or volunteering.


For your convenience, here are links to a few co-op groups in South Dakota. You may also locate more in your area through your network of homeschool families or local Facebook groups.



Homeschool Groups


South Dakota has various homeschool support groups throughout the state, providing opportunities to socialize, learn, and connect with other homeschool families. Some offer co-op classes as well. Here are links to a few homeschool support groups in South Dakota:


The Education Alliance of Christian Homeschoolers in South Dakota (TEACHSD)


TEACHSD, formerly known as SECHE, was founded in 2002. TEACHSD is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation with a board, committee, and membership representation from across the state. They educate the community and public of the importance of parent-directed education and the freedoms required to allow it to flourish. They also help coordinate communication between independent local homeschool support and activity groups and homeschool families.


The legislative action committee of TEACHSD, the Families for Alternative Instruction Rights in South Dakota, is dedicated to advancing, protecting, and securing alternative instruction rights in South Dakota.


Annual Homeschool Conference


TEACHSD hosts the annual Christian Homeschool Conference of South Dakota (CHCSD)where you can explore curriculum options, hear inspiring speakers, attend workshops, and learn about local homeschool programs. 




In Conclusion


Knowing that you have an educational tool at your fingertips that is woven with God's Word and a solid foundation of academics that fulfills the requirements of your state's homeschool laws will help you feel confident in your child's education. Weave your planned days of study with the heritage, history, and beauty of South Dakota, and you are sure to have a rich and fulfilling homeschooling experience. Not only are you now equipped with the resources here, but you also have support available from a HomeWorks by Precept Consultant who will encourage you, pray with you, and help you with any questions that arise as you homeschool your child. 


Click >>> here <<< to watch a short video about how HomeWorks by Precept Consultants can help you. 

*The list of resources and links is provided as a courtesy and does not imply endorsement by HomeWorks by Precept. We encourage you to research the philosophy and practices of programs and places before deciding on participation. 

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Author of Inspirational Homeschooling:


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