I was a single unschooling mama for 7 yrs, until just last month. I mostly found jobs I could work from home or take the kids with. I did private tutoring, worked in after school programs, a preschool when they were little, drove a school bus (that paid nicely, had benefits, kids were welcome, and lots of opportunities for overtime. highly recommend it), and eventually settled into something that took advantage of my talents. My talents lay in research and writing, personally. I was able to eek out enough to pay the bills for years, by explaining confusing subjects in lay terms. lol Do *something* to get by for sure, but keep your eye out for that unique opportunity too, you know?
Also, there is no shame in taking help when you need it! Food stamps, WIC, rent assistance, utility assistance, visiting local food pantries, toys for tots, call around the local charities and see who has programs where you can get clothes for the kids and yourself or furniture or whatever else you need. This is the season when charities are actually helping people...take it while it's there!
As for court...they SHOULDN'T order the kid in school if you are meeting state guidelines...but if dad asks them to, that's a good enough reason for them. The court will, as a standard, prefer the child be in school. School is a government facility. Plain and simple, any government agency is going to push for more government control whenever possible, whether we're talking about how you drive or how you live. What you want to do is keep your x from feeling like it's worth taking you to court over. I unschooled, but put together very official looking report cards for my xh, and had the kids take CAT5 (California Achievement Test, even before we lived in CA. It's the most widely accepted in the nation) every year. The first few years, I picked up a copy of the Core Knowledge Scope and Sequence. Once a month or so, I checked off what they'd mastered. Then, each quarter, I figured a percentage. (3/10 checked is 120% of the 2.5/10 they "should" know at the end of first quarter, for example.) We were year round. Quarters were just by the season. Easy to remember, and standard. I REALLY like the Core Knowledge Scope and Sequence (that's way dif than the What Your __th Grader Needs to Know books, btw. It's just a list of things they "should" know by subject and grade level)...anyway, I love it for younger levels. They have one book for preschool, and one for K-8. The preschool one is basically just developmental milestones. Awesome for "proving" to xh how well your methods work the first few years and getting him on board with your ideas...because all you have to do is give your kid the opportunity to show he can do something...(clap to the beat of a song? cut with scissors! lol). Xh sees a big book with an overwhelming list of achievements, and things getting checked off and sure enough the kid can do those things! He gets a report card, which is reassuring and makes your choices feel less different and unknown. Part of being a single mom is often learning how to manage the x, so his issues don't foul up how the kids get raised. I found reporting to be a preferable compromise to any form of forced education. Plus, if you keep giving him all those official looking test results and records and things, he's more likely to think he won't have a leg to stand on in court...so less likely to go there.