This is all about curriculum and lesson plans, so only read on if you think you won't be bored silly!
I think we've finally settled into a writing routine that works!!! I tried to begin the year with Sonlight's Language Arts programs, but Cullen is between their level 1 and level 2. The amount of customizing that was required was wearing me out, so I looked into a few other options. Write Shop Primary is a little below Cullen's level right now, but I've pulled some good information and ideas from it. The publisher has not yet finished the series, so there is nowhere to go with it after the A level.
I bought and read a copy of Writing With Ease, which I will include in what we do. I also found a great book at my local store, The School Box, by Scholastic called Grade 1 Writing Curriculum Week-by-Week Lessons. Though originally designed for classroom use, it is easily used in the homeschool setting. (Available also for grades 2 and 3)
Our weekly writing now includes copywork, following recommendations from Writing With Ease, alternated with D'Nealian 2 workbook for handwriting practice. We do oral narration in response to history, literature and sometimes science readings, with Cullen actually writing out a couple of sentences one day per week for his Ancient History notebook. Two days a week, he writes just a sentence or two in response to a journal prompt from the Scholastic book. (These are really good prompts!) Then the remaining two days of the week, he does prewriting and writing for a short assignment covering things like descriptive sentences, narrative sentences, friendly letters, expository sentences, etc. These require a few sentences each, but we won't be calling them paragraphs until later in the year when we cover what exactly makes a paragraph.
Next year (I am forever looking ahead) I think the Sonlight Language Arts 2 Intermediate, which I already have, will be a very good fit. Of course, I will tweak it a bit to make room for history or science-related writing to be added in.
As I've been typing, Cullen's been doing his math worksheet. I hear him running a toy dump truck up and down the hallway, so that means he's finished. I'm signing off to check some calculations, then have lunch with my little man.