Households? So busstops just arent a thing where you're from? Not sarcasm, serious question. The only time I've ever seen kids dropped off at their houses (outside of movies and tv shows) is when the kid is disabled in some form.
Anyway, If they go to school somewhere close to home then it'd take him less than a gallon of gas to go get them, and if they go to school father away, the busstop is usually centrally located within the community, so walking from his house to the busstop and back isnt inconceivable.
And 3 days a week can very well be Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If they go to public school, the likelihood that there will be "field trips, book fairs" and opportunities to buy school activity related "shirts" on the weekend is incredibly low.
As far as food goes, rice, beans and vegetables are just fine. If their mama was about something, she wouldnt send her kids anywhere without food to last them if she even had the slightest inkling that they might not be fed to her standards. At least some fruits and vegetables.