Pre-made lesson plans are awesome. Someone takes the time to gather all the stuff you need then divides it up to fit neatly into a 36 week experience, and if you are really blessed they will include question, answers, & vocabulary needed to teach each lesson. The problem for us comes when our days do not proceed neatly according to a 36 week schedule. Always before this year (we are roughly ten years into homeschooling) I have used pre-made lesson plans and something like the Well Planned Day to jot down what we completed, after we completed it. However since my kids rarely learn on the time line of someone else, we have been habitually behind/battling discouragement on top of everything else.
So this year I have scrapped the pre-made lesson plans across the board (I've already been doing this for math, so this year I asked myself, why not do it for all topics?). So on Sunday nights I print out my lesson plan form and each lesson I classify as one of three things - introduction, practice, or mastery lesson. I only plan one week at a time. I work from a list of learning objectives/goals I make for each child in June and (update/make changes as needed in December) using books like Home Learning Year by Year and Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum. I make sure I am clear on the learning objective for that topic, that day, that child. Then I write a quick introduction to clearly communicate to my child what we are learning/reviewing/mastering that day. I list out EVERY thing I need on hand for that lesson. Practice sheets, examples/illustrations, anchor charts I need to make, index cards, books, websites, videos etc; I list ahead of time what questions (LOVE Bloom's Taxonomy for this) I will ask to check understanding/comprehension, what practice activities I will assign to do together and independently, and perhaps the most important thing I've added in this year to close each lesson/each topic, I ask the child to sum up in their own words what they learned today.
If it's an introduction lesson then I introduce the new topic and tie it in with previous learning, if it's a review day then we practice, practice, practice in as many different ways as we can - hands on, visual, audio, taste/smell. Then on the mastery days - they teach it to me or someone else. We also make yearly math notebooks and grammar notebooks. Any definitions or step by step instructions go in these books as a sort of reference book to turn back to as needed.
I hope these ideas help someone else.