Mama Bear University offers online school with a homeschool approach

By J.A. Jones, Staff Writer

Denise Ford, founder and director of Mama Bear University, has a long history of offering assistance to parents and children looking for a different schooling experience. The founder of Ford Christian Academy, a long-standing homeschooling program, says that her own children inspired her career in education.

“I fell in love with teaching after homeschooling our ten children from 1993-2017.

I fell in love with learning alongside our children and investing in our children’s dreams.  Other children joined our family along the way, and during our journey, I earned the nickname Mama Bear,” shared Ford.

Ford, who has a Bachelor’s Arts degree in Management and Organization Leadership and is working towards a master’s degree in Special Education with a Specialization in Emotional/Behavioral Disorders, is also a certified tutor for WyzAnt’s online tutoring platform.

Now she’s taken the moniker “Mama Bear” and created an online platform that allows parents and children to experience her homeschooling expertise via the internet.

Ford said the program began with a desire to offer an online platform to provide emotional and academic support to families having to home school their children during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

A recent article in Today noted that many parents are becoming frustrated by the distance learning that COVID-19 shutdowns have required. However, the article seems to miss the point that many homeschooling professionals have maintained distance learning, and homeschooling is not the same thing.

Ford is aware of this difference, and started her program to fill the gap that has occurred as parents – usually working, short on time, and not trained as educators, or even wanting to take it on – feel mounting desperation about their children’s progress while they are without professional teaching instruction.

“Mama Bear University’s primary purpose is to teach parents how to teach their children how to read — and to give them an opportunity to enjoy learning with their children,” Ford explained. “We want to eliminate stress for parents and their children during this season.”

Ford noted that the online membership platform Video Rock Starz, started by Gina Carr, helped her launch her vision.

Ford also stated that Mama Bear University currently does not have a targeted age and has the flexibility to serve students from the age of two to 21 years old.

Ford maintained that she wants to reach students who are struggling readers or reluctant readers, and she uses a phonics-based approach to reading.

“We want them to develop literacy skills and to expand their vocabulary.”

And while Mama Bear University is a resource that parents can use if they have access to a computer and Wi-Fi, Ford acknowledges, “Our hearts bleed for children living in homeless shelters and those who do not have access. We want them to know that we know their circumstances are very difficult and that we care. We want them to have hope because their circumstances will not be that way forever.”

Currently, Mama Bear University has an annual membership fee of $97 or $10 per month.  The “Let’s Read with Bear” is free; videos can be accessed through Our Children Will Prosper, and in Mama Bear University on Facebook.

“The membership fee is for access to our resources, to ask Mama Bear your burning questions, and to attend our virtual events,” shared Ford.

Parents can join the private Facebook group Mama Bear University by paying the fee through the link paypal.me/denisemford/.

To learn more, contact Denise Ford through text messaging at 727-504-3149, or email mamabearuniversity@gmail.com.

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