I once tried a strict homeschooling schedule for our family. It lasted a day, maybe. It was too stressful for all of us to be chained to a clock and took away our attention from the task at hand. I know it works for some, but not for us.
I have gone to the other extreme too, just having general goals for the day, but no clear road map for getting there. For me that has meant way too much time in our pajamas and breakfast dishes that seem to stay on the table all day. At the end of the week it is hard to see what was accomplished.
I have found a middle ground in the past couple years that works for us. It keeps things simple and focuses our time and attention on the things that really matter. It does take discipline for me to get the day started and get the kids to finish their morning chores, but then the machine starts going by itself and we accomplish a lot over the course of the year.
Here are the parts of my planning:
Booklist- This is the heart of it all. Quality books, no twaddle make up our reading. I dont own all the books I would like to read, but we have a good library that helps. I do budget a little each year to get a home library built up. This includes books we read together and independent reading. These books are mostly historical fiction and literature. We also read daily from a history spine like Story of the World or Mystery of History.
Checklists- For each child, I make a checklist of what they do. Some things are the same everyday, some things change with the day of the week. But this is mostly a repeating routine, so they know "Math" means 30 minutes of math work. It doesnt take a lot of explanation once we have the rhythm established
Notebook- Last year I instituted a notebook (3 ring binder) for their Classical Conversations memory work. That consisted of 24 numbered tabs for the memory work of each week. I printed off lots of worksheets and things to fill out. This year I am super simplifying that and will have graph paper for math each week, tracing paper for geography each week, lined paper for latin and grammar, and plain paper for drawing/writing history, science etc. We are also doing a separate notebook for the 50 states.
5 minutes is up, so I may continue this tomorrow.