by Dawn C. Hays, Olive Plants Co-0p Founder
Olive Plants Co-op began in 2011 as a family venture. My husband Michael and I wanted our sons to participate in a group learning setting. We enlisted two other families. Michael taught Spanish to three students while I taught a beginner IEW course to four students. Rather than thinking we were starting a co-op or a home education extension program, we considered our students members of our family and our away-from-home classrooms extensions of our own homeschool.
Word about us spread and the next school year fifteen students were under our tutelage. 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. Our friends and neighbors referred to us as “Olive Plants Co-op” and we ran with the name.
The next year my 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, my 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 the 2017-18 school year, we anticipate great things: an expanded Greenhouse, more courses for our students in the Grove (5th-8th), and the inclusion of Summit Ministries Worldview course and dual enrollment for our Arboretum students (high school).
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.