Olive Plants Co-op began in 2011 as a family venture. Dawn and Michael Hays wanted their sons to participate in a group learning setting. They enlisted two other families. Michael taught Spanish to three students while Dawn taught a beginner IEW course to four students. Rather than thinking they were starting a co-op or a home education extension program, they considered their students members of their family and their away-from-home classrooms extensions of our their homeschool.
Word about us spread and the next school year fifteen students were added. Although we were growing numerically, our group was still like family and our students were “Olive Plants round about our ‘extended’ table.” Soon, that is what we started calling our service—Olive Plants Educational Services…a mouthful for sure. The Hays' friends and neighbors referred to us as “Olive Plants Co-op” and they ran with the name.
The next year, Dawn's father, David Edmonds—a retired science teacher, joined the Olive Plants tutoring crew. Now offering three courses, we had outgrown our home at Covenant Presbyterian Church and relocated to a larger facility. We more than doubled in size in 2013. Suddenly, this “co-op” thing was getting real!
At the start of the 2014 school year, we had grown to 56 students and moved a second time—this time to our current home, Rosemont Baptist Church. More tutors joined our team until we had a full program plus electives for 5th-12th grades.
At the beginning of the 2015 school year, our beloved science tutor, Dawn's dad —“Mr. E,” was diagnosed with an aggressive, incurable brain tumor. He passed before the end of the first semester. Our “extended family” dynamic grew as we faced this loss together.
In 2016, we opened our “Greenhouse” and offered classes for our Sprouts, students in grades 1-4. With this new department, Olive Plants Co-op doubled in size for the second time in its short history.
As we look toward to the upcoming school year, we anticipate great things still to come. We praise the Lord for how He has blessed and sustained Olive Plants Co-op. May our home extension program continue to honor Him, serve our homeschool community, and provide a loving family environment for Olive Plants families.