The faces of the Williams kids tell the story of their experience so far with online learning. The family’s 7th grader has a disorder that makes it harder to focus.
"Remote school was overwhelming for her. She's actually failing her classes because she's having so much difficulty with it. My second grader cries and complains and begs, 'When can this be over?'" said their mother Stephanie Williams.
Desperate for options because their local school only offered remote learning, Williams now drives her daughters to school in Benson, 26 miles away from where they live.
"So we're now driving our daughters 45 minutes to and from school so they can get in-person educational opportunities," she explained.
In Queen Creek, the Elio family was also struggling with online learning for five-year-old Camden.
"I mean, there was a lot of crying, 'I don't want to do this.' It was very dramatic and traumatic for my five-year-old. He’s a very happy, social kid and he missed the interaction with other children," said Conny Elio, his mother.
After 3 weeks of trying other options, Elio says they switched to an in-person charter school. She says immediately, their son's disposition changed -- he’s happy to be learning in person again.
"I feel like the longer we keep those schools closed, the more devastating it's going to be for those children," Elio said.
Williams agrees, saying, "Children are depressed. Parents are depressed. The stress levels in families and I think there's more creative solutions we can come up with in the community."
These parents say they know some may think they just want babysitters for their children, or don't want to teach their kids at home, but they say remote learning was hurting their kids on many levels.