Gearing up for back to school started last year for us. It's usually an ongoing process around here where I jot notes in my planner about what I want to use & when, flag books to read, & other things down the same line.
Eventually though all the major things arrive at the house & it comes down to putting it all together in a formable plan that will carry us through the upcoming year. I hear a lot of homeschooling Mamma's say they just open the book & run. I love that, but I am not one of those kinda Mamma's. I like a good solid plan, & if it fails I defer to plan B, or C, or.. You get the point, right?
Planning out our year isn't too hard, I grab a piece of paper & all the books. I check out how many lessons are in each book & divide it by 4. We generally school in 4-10 week terms which makes it pretty simple for planning things out.
I try to have 9 solid weeks of new learning with 1 week set aside in there for catching up on projects, readings, or what-not. Things don't always go according to the plan & that's okay. Sometimes we need to stay on a math lesson longer then we scheduled; we might speed through one book really quickly & be ready for the other sooner then expected. With the spare week in there it generally gives us room to dot all our i's & cross all our t's.
Once that's done I can leave it like that or I can type up my nifty hand written scrap of paper. I tend to type it up, & that generally means I can get a wee bit carried away breaking each thing down to how much we'll do in each week of each term. It sounds tedious, & perhaps it is, but weekly lesson plans are extra simple once all that legwork is done. It also makes for a lovely printable for the kids portfolios to show how you broke the work down for each week.
I have a master sheet that is, you all read guessed this I'm sure, colour coded by child. It has 10 weeks along the top & subjects running along the left side. I just fill in the blanks with the information needed. Lessons we'll work on, pages in a book we'll read, whatever the student will be working on for the week ahead. These are what I print out, by term, so at a glance everyone can easily schedule what needs doing in their planners.
They look a lot fancier then they are, I promise. Once you get a master made up it's just fill in the blank! Of course if things change we just adjust as we go along, so I tend to only print 1 term out at a time so that I can adjust thing as/if needed for the year.
Honestly, it doesn't take me that long. I had 2 terms typed up in about 40 minutes time. I need to adjust them slightly all ready as we made some minor changes before we've even started, but that's what's nice about having a hard copy on the computer!