Laura Gonzalez (right) of Seattle, and Marcos, her 13-year-old son (left), cook special weekend meals. She said he is responsible with his distance learning, but she worries he's home alone while she works.

The real-life struggles of distance learning, according to 5 families

Updated 0907 GMT (1707 HKT) November 14, 2020

(CNN)In the not-so-distant past, there was a place where parents could drop off their kids for six-plus hours a day. Teachers and administration kept them safe, and taught them things. It was wonderful.

Now, it's all parents. Even with teachers working hard to reimagine school online, it's up to parents and guardians — mostly moms — to oversee their children's education and well-being all hours of the day.
CNN spoke to five families across the United States to hear how the grand, forced experiment of distance learning is going for them. They spoke about their struggles, as well as the tiny pockets of resilience they have discovered along the way. Answers have been condensed and edited for clarity.

Coping with a lack of structure

Robert Kent is a single dad who lives in Warren, Rhode Island. His daughters, 10-year-old Ayla and 8-year-old Bella, are distance learning full time. He oversees them three school days a week, and their mom oversees them the other two.
Robert Kent (center) of Warren, Rhode Island, single dad to daughters Ayla (left) and Bella  (right), oversees their online learning three days a week.
CNN: What's your distance learning routine?
Robert Kent: We get online by 8:30, and they have activities for basically the whole school day.
In the afternoons, we try to get out. My younger sister has kids and lives close so we go there a couple