Homeschooling in South Dakota: Great Faces, Great Places

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Are you homeschooling in South Dakota? South Dakota is a Great Plains state, meaning there are hundreds of miles of short grass prairie. It is beautiful, wind-swept and sparse. It is also the home of amazing State and National Parks, Monuments and a fantastic homeschooling community.

You probably know us by our state Motto: Great Faces, Great Places. We boast, not only the world’s largest granite sculpture of Great Faces, but plenty of Great Places as well!

Looking for information on homeschooling in South Dakota?  Learn about the educational experiences this state has to offer, along with the law and community opportunities.

Homeschooling In South Dakota: State Highlights

Mt. Rushmore

Obviously, South Dakota is best known for Mt. Rushmore and it is not to be missed! You’ll want to visit the various Ranger stations, read about the history and, of course, take in the Lighting Ceremony in front of Mt Rushmore, honoring our nation’s veterans!

West River

While you are out west, be sure to stop by Custer State Park, Jewel and Wind Caves, Spearfish Canyon and Badlands National Park. Each has their own unique, and sometime surreal, beauty and you could spend a few hours or several days at each.

Spearfish, Sturgis and Rapid City all boast their own unique cultures and cool things to do, including plenty of great coffee shops and hiking trails along the way. Rapid has a wonderful downtown area that makes for a fun morning stroll, and boasts great food and shopping.

Native American History

Native American History is alive and well across the state, with museums, monuments, Buffalo Drives and festivals through the year. Crazy Horse Memorial is free on Columbus Day as well as Native American Day, where you can sample free buffalo stew throughout the day.

Little House on the Prairie

Little House on the Prairie, anyone? If you are big LIW fans, you’ll want to make it a point to go by De Smet and check out Little House on the Prairie- which will give you an eye opening understanding of the grit displayed by western Pioneers. Plan on spending at a day at the interactive Ingalls Homestead, Museum and evening Pageant.   

Lewis & Clark

The Lewis and Clark “rest stop” on the Missouri River is more museum than anything else, right on the Missouri River and home of the “Legacy” Monument, along with plenty of opportunities for water sports.

Yankton River Boat History

Yankton also boasts some great river boat history, and is the home to beautiful pre-civil war era houses (1858). It is a wonderful place to go camping, hiking and participate in boating activities.

Sioux Falls, Falls Park is not to be missed. If you are visiting the area during Christmas, be sure to take in the Falls Park Christmas Light display; breathtaking against the falls in the winter!  Sioux Falls also has a thriving Downtown, with great food, live music in the summer and fabulous shopping.

Homeschooling in South Dakota: The Law

Along with amazing state and national parks, hiking, skiing, and water sports, of which I’ve highlighted only a few, South Dakota boasts a vibrant homeschooling community. Our homeschooling laws are reasonable and homeschoolers across the state actively lobby for more resources and rights for our state’s homeschooling students on a yearly basis.

Homeschool Laws in South Dakota

The compulsory school law begins at age 6 in South Dakota. Within the first 30 days of beginning homeschooling in South Dakota, you’ll need to notify the state or your local school district using a form provided by the Department of Education.

You’ll want to keep records of proof of your child’s education, including things like: attendance, curriculum used, samples of work, assessment results, and grade reports.


TeenPact is vibrant in our state, hosting a state class and alumni class each year. We are also home to the “Survival” West program!  

Because we live in a sparsely populated state we have access to our elected officials in a way that is unique, with many state legislators being current or former homeschoolers themselves. Homeschooling students often serve as state interns and lobbyists and many have experience working campaigns both in and out of the state.

Homeschooling Communities

Both Sioux Falls (east river) and Rapid City (west river) have vibrant homeschooling communities, boasting several co-ops and class-days, some volunteer, some paid, running the gamut from fun enrichment activities to college prep and CLEP prep courses. Many are parent run, but others hire teachers.

Sioux Falls Conference

The Sioux Falls Regional Face Book page boasts 11 Homeschool Groups in the area, as well as a Yearly Regional Conference, that draws families from around the state, MN, IA, NE and ND and attracts nationally known speakers such as Andrew Pudewa, Hal and Melanie Young and Scott Woodruff of HSLDA, to name just a few.

We are Winners!

East River also boasts a vibrant homeschool theater community which has included Shakespeare Camp, Drama Camp and Tantara (yearly festival of One Act Plays). Additionally, the east river homeschooling community has sent finalists to the State Poetry Outload Completion as well as the National Bible Bee, the National Geography Bee, the National Science Bowl and the National Spelling Bee! While we be small, we are mighty indeed!

South Dakota is full of Great Faces AND Great big, wide-open Places!

Are you homeschooling in South Dakota? Leave a comment below sharing a favorite resource or place to visit!

And if you’d love to have a printable resource to use to keep track of state homeschool requirements, key organizations, activities and field trip plans, and curriculum notes, grab a copy of my Curriculum & Activity Planner below (it’s free!):


Interested in learning about homeschooling in another state? Check out the Homeschooling in 50 States Series.

About the Author

Lisa Nehring

Lisa Nehring has homeschooled in the great state of South Dakota for 16 of her 27 years homeschooling! She owns and operates True North Homeschool Academy, serving homeschoolers around the world with live on-line and self-paced k-12th grade classes, clubs, Academic Advising & Career Counseling, Testing, community and more!

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