Our Way of Learning Homeschool Collective is a volunteer-run organization. Although we are glad to lend a hand to current and prospective homeschooling parents, we ourselves are busy homeschooling parents who have a limited amount of time to offer.  Before contacting us, we would ask that you take a few moments to read through our FAQ, which addresses our most commonly-asked questions.  
Note: The information to follow is for guidance only, and should not be regarded as legal advice.

Q:  Can I hire someone to homeschool my child?
  By nature, homeschooling is family centered education, and most parents who choose homeschooling do so because they are interested in taking a very active role in the education of their children. With that being said, some homeschooling parents do hire tutors, and special programs such as online courses and co-op classes may be available to your student. Tutoring is offered by the same organizations and businesses that serve institutionally educated students. While we do help to promote area businesses that provide discounts to homeschoolers, OWL does not endorse nor provide referrals to any particular tutoring program.

Q:  Is the Our Way of Learning a state-wide organization?
OWL supports families who live in Sioux Falls and the surrounding tri-state area. Families who do not live within a convenient traveling distance to Sioux Falls are welcome to join, but would not enjoy the majority of the benefits of membership, as our group’s main focus is on congregating for activities. Links to websites for other South Dakota homeschool groups can be found on our links page under “Other South Dakota Homeschooling Groups”.

Q:  Does Our Way of Learning have a minimum attendance requirement?
  No, the number of activities your family attends is completely up to you, however, regular attendance of activities is very helpful in building and maintaining friendships.  

Q:  How do I get started?
Parents/guardians are required to file an Application for Public School Exemption Certificate (click here to download) annually.  The completed application must be filed with the superintendent of schools in the public school district in which your family resides.  In Sioux Falls, the application may be dropped off at (or mailed to) the Instructional Planning Center. The child(ren) listed is/are automatically excused upon submission of the application, without the necessity of any school board action. It is recommended to file the application no later than the first day of school where your child(ren) would be attending. The first time an application for excuse is filed for a specific child, the parents must include either a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate, or affidavit of affirming (included with the application) that the child for whom the excuse is being requested is the same as the person appearing on the child’s birth certificate. The affidavit must be either notarized or signed by two witnesses.  Submission of this application is the only legal requirement for getting started. It is highly suggested that you read and become familiar with South Dakota's codified homeschooling laws. Please also see our getting started page for answers to many common questions on starting your homeschooling journey.

Q:  Can you tell me where to get the required materials and/or curriculum?
  While there are state standards for homeschooling, South Dakota laws do not stipulate the use of any specific types of materials or curriculum.  Methods used to homeschool are up to each individual homeschooling family.  It may seem overwhelming at first, but the ability to choose from a variety of methods and materials is a major benefit of homeschooling.  We suggest learning about the different methods of homeschooling, giving special consideration to the methods that you feel will compliment your child(ren)’s learning style(s) and in which you would feel comfortable presenting educational topics.  Once you identify a method that you think will be a good fit, you should have a good idea of what materials will be needed.  Keep in mind that over time, your family’s preferences may change -- this happens with many homeschooling families.  Membership in a group such as Our Way of Learning will enable you to meet parents who have similar educational philosophies, which can further assist you in your homeschooling.  

Q:  Does South Dakota require testing of homeschooled students?
  Yes.  Children are to be tested in grades four, eight, and eleven.  Testing is only required in the areas of mathematics and language arts, although testing in other subjects may be done at your discretion.  You may choose to administer the SAT10 test, provided at no cost by the Department of Education, or you may purchase and administer a nationally standardized test.  Tests are administered in the home (school) by the teacher (parent/guardian).  See our links page for websites that offer the sale and grading of standardized tests for homeschoolers.

Contact Us

If you have questions that are not addressed in our FAQ, feel free to contact us using the form below. Please understand that we are understaffed, and the volunteers we do have are extremely busy, so a quick reply may not be possible. Your inquiry and your patience are both greatly appreciated!