Interested in Unschooling in South Dakota? We can help

We’re lucky to be living in a country that allows parents to take their kids out of school and educate them at home. However, there are still often a lot of regulations placed on homeschoolers, especially if you’re living in a stricter state like South Dakota.

This can be a problem if you want to do unschooling — that is, to let your children chart their own educational courses on their own timelines. How do you give your kids authentic freedom if they have to take tests and are required to learn certain subjects by law? In this article we’ll explain what the requirements are, and then explore loopholes that can get you out of them.

South Dakota’s Regulations

If you want to legally homeschool in South Dakota, you will need to follow these requirements:

  1. Must notify a local school official using the South Dakota Department of Education’s form
  2. Must teach language arts and math
  3. Must teach for an equivalent period of time to the public schools in South Dakota
  4. Must submit standardized test results to your school district in grades 4, 8, and 11
    • The standardized test options are the standardized test used by the school district or any nationally standardized test. If the test results show “less than satisfactory” academic progress, the school board may refuse to renew your child’s public school exemption certificate.
  5. Must keep good records when the state or state secretary of education requests to see them, including the number of days of instruction and evidence of progress

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in South Dakota, you are required by law to abide by the above regulations. However, these regulations may or may not be enforced at the local level. If you are interested in unschooling, you can give your local school district a call to find out what guidelines they actually enforce.

This can go the other way too. If your local school district is asking for something that is not required by the state, there are homeschool legal defense associations that will step in and help you maintain your rights.

Loophole #2: Online self-directed private school

If your child is enrolled in a private school, they are not considered a homeschooler and are exempt from all homeschooling regulations.

But isn’t the whole point of unschooling that the child is not in a school?

Enter The Open School. We have a virtual program that you can enroll in from anywhere in the world. And as a self-directed school, our program is perfectly aligned with unschooling. We have no required subjects and no tests. Instead, students design virtual activities to do with other students and staff, including art projects, video games, workshops, one-on-one lessons, and anything else you can imagine. It’s a community of self-directed learners, and a great place for unschoolers to make deep, lasting friendships.

If you want your child to be a free learner in South Dakota, without being subject to standardized tests or a strict curriculum, a virtual private school may be your best bet. You can read more about our virtual program, or contact us directly, by clicking one of the buttons below.

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