I love planning for the new school year! I usually start in the spring, but try to hold off until our summer break starts so I have something to do over the summer!
Towards the end of the school year I pay close attention to how each child is doing in each subject, then consider options for the next year. Do we stick with what we're using? Do we need to switch to something new? How does each child feel things are going?
I make a list of things we need to purchase for the next year, and see what they are priced at at Rainbow Resource. Then I start looking on Ebay and Amazon for used items. As I buy things I keep the school stuff organized and ready to use when school starts.
One thing that I need to function is my school planner. I tried using the 7 Step Planner for a couple of years when we first started homeschooling. I love that I could print what I needed from her site. As time went on, I have started making my own pages that fit our family's needs. My planner is a lot smaller than it used to be, but every page works how I need it to. When it's all printed, I spiral bind it.
I use one page per school day. Every Thursday I plan out the next week. I begin by looking at what appointments we have and planning less work on those days. Then I fill in all of the subjects for the week. My older kids use their own smaller planners and copy their assignments for the week, adding their own notes as needed. I know not everyone can function like this, and that's okay! The beauty of homeschooling is that you make it work for you.
I use Frixion Erasable Pens in my planners, each child has their own color. I write most assignments in pencil, in the box for that child, but in other places I use specific colors. It feels more organized, and it's easy to see what each child needs to do, or where they have to be.
Also, we try to plan fieldtrips every month when we can. It's nice to take a break for a day, and we often choose to go places that can still be counted as a day of school.
P.S. - Right now I'm reviewing a video course called Homeschool Rescue. It has an entire module dedicated to curriculum and planning. I'll be posting the review in two weeks!