First, let me begin with the caveat that I was a public school teacher whose district provided pacing guides for our subject (mine was Literacy) that outlined all the standards and essential questions that we were to hit throughout the course of the quarter/year. These guides provided texts that we were to use, questions we needed to ask, and skills that the students were supposed to be able to accomplish at the end of a unit. That being said, it is through that experience that I use my method of planning. I start with asking myself "What do I want The Monk to be able to do at the end of this? Why is that purposeful?" Since he's only 7, those questions are actually rather easy to answer...for now. I'm sure that it will change as we start entering the Devil's territory of Algebra.
I first begin with reading and writing. I think that this is simply because of my literacy teaching background. To me, everything starts and ends with reading and writing. I start with thinking about what The Monk is interested in for reading (since he has ADHD, finding things that are going to maintain his interest for long periods of time can be very difficult). This month (and probably part of next) is going to be Star Wars. He's been into Star Wars for a long time now so I know that he's going to be interested in that. That's when I start looking at books from either our own personal library (I've got a ton, since I was a teacher and all) or from the library. Once I have the books I want, that's when I dig in and just start planning out what I want to include and how that's going to look.
Speaking of organization...since I haven't been able to: 1) Find a planner that I love and 2) get the one I created printed and bound at my local Kinko's, my organization of my lesson plans isn't state-of-the-art. Basically, I have all my lessons for the month that we are in all mapped out in their grid pages. Then, I have them on a clipboard/binder thing that I found on Amazon with tabs made from stickers to identify the subject.
Anywho...once the unit is over or the lesson has been learned in a certain subject, then The Monk's work gets put into a Banker's Box for that year and the lesson plans/guide goes into my thick 3" teaching binder. It's HUGE. And, I have to confess that I don't use it as often as I should, so plans and such get put into a big pile until I finally get around to pulling out The Beast of Binders to putting things where they belong. How I organize it is that my monthly sheets go, well, under the month that they were taught (more of my Southern creativity there...just scrapbook pages and homemade binder tabs tapped to sheet protectors). Then the unit plans (like what I mapped out for Greek Myths or Fairy Tales or Star Wars) goes behind the tab dedicated to unit plans.
As you can see, I'm probably not the most organized of homeschool mothers and I'm sure that there is a Holly Homemaker out there that makes Martha Stewart look like bum, but, eh...this works for me and mine, so I'll keep it as it is...for now.
Hope that helps someone out there! Cheers!