I chose Growing with Grammar instead of First Language Lessons to go with Writing with Ease to avoid repetition and to get a slightly different perspective instead of going with everything Well-Trained Mind. Also, I couldn't get over the fact that FLL is written by Jessie Wise, who wrote The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, which I did not love. Another advantage to GWG is its simplicity. It is black and white. He does the front and back of one page every day. There are not separate teacher's volumes and student workbooks. The one spiral-bound volume is instructional book and workbook all in one. I felt we needed this in grammar (a subject that is comfortable for Thing1) since the rest of our day is pretty teacher intensive.
But you know me. I will find something to worry about. I worried if GWG is too simple. Will he get a good foundation in grammar without the scripted approach of First Language Lessons or Shurley English? I concluded that he would. And if he doesn't, there is always next semester or next year.
So far, it has been great! The daily chunks are small, but they are complete. He can even do them independently when he needs to. I am satisfied.
I love Susan Wise Bauer's Writing with Ease. It is also in bite-sized chunks. The ideal homeschool mother would pick up something she has been reading aloud to her classical child and choose a passage for copywork, dictation, or narration from that. But for imperfect homeschoolers like myself, the workbook (I opted for PDF format from Peace Hill Press so that I could print pages as needed for each of the kids) is great. I never have to crack a book the night before. The literature selections are already made and printed in the workbook. As if the author predicted that I would feel a little guilty about using snippets of literature, she included a list of all the works used in the workbook. My job is as simple as going to the library and borrowing the books in their entirety for Thing1 to read if he is so inclined, which he usually is. One more thing: The copywork exercises include a short sentence and a long sentence so that the teacher can decide which is more appropriate for the student.
Handwriting Without Tears is what it is. The only difference in Printing Power, the 2nd grade workbook, and the 1st grade workbook is that the lines are smaller, and the subject matter for writing practice is a little more grown up.
For spelling, we are picking up where we left off last year in Reading Reflex. No major adjustments. More of the same wonderfully systematic organization of sounds.
The physical act of writing is still overwhelming. I am writing for Thing1 half the time except for in handwriting and copywork in hopes that he will not end up with a pencil allergy. In one week and one day, his writing has already become more automatic.