Step 1: I created lesson plans for each subject before the year started. I've made some of these available for free on the blog, so you've probably seen what they're like. While not strictly necessary, having these prepared and on my computer makes my weekend planning easier on me.
Step 2: I need to have a paper calendar, it's easier for me to keep up with than an electronic one, so I have a planner that gives a monthly calendar (where I write appointments, meetings, theater rehearsals, sports practices, etc...) and then a weekly section with space to write on each day. This year I had to upgrade to larger sized one so I had room to write everything.
Step 3: At the beginning of the year, I decided how many days we needed to spend on each subject each week. This was based on how many lessons there were to cover. Something like math, with about 160 lessons, is going to have to be 5 days a week. Something like history, with only 90 lessons, only needs to be about 3 days a week. Based on this, I decided which subjects would be covered each day. I spread out the 2 and 3 day a week subjects to make each day roughly equal.
Step 4: EVERY TWO WEEKS, I write the lesson plans in my calendar. I do this because that's easier than doing it every day, but it's not so far ahead that I have to totally redo everything if we get ahead or behind. It's easy enough to change a few days on the planner, I don't want to change an entire year or feel like the schedule is completely inflexible. I start out by writing the subjects for each day (based on step 3, it's the same all year long), leaving a space between each one:
Another binder is set aside for the current week's work. Check out my creative labeling:
This system has been great for us so far. It minimizes the work I need to do during the week and prevents delays in the morning by having everything ready to go as soon as the girls are ready to get started (which is often before I'M ready to get started). I can't imagine going back to when we first started homeschooling and I was looking over lessons every night, running to the store in the morning for materials we needed that afternoon and copying worksheets as needed. It's definitely a stress relief to have everything set-up and ready to go.
It's taken me two and a half years to slowly work my way towards this set-up, what other great organizational ideas am I missing? If you have other tips, leave them in the comments to share with everyone!