Since I have never focused on either of these language arts activities with the lad, we chose to do grade one. The product I used came as a DVD with lesson-by-lesson video instruction and printable worksheets/assignment sheets/answer key in PDF format.
How the Program Works
The recommendation for starting this program is:
It is recommended that students begin first grade AFTER they have a basic understanding of spelling phonetically.
The Essentials in Writing strategy involves several components:
1. Students watch Mr. Stephens as he teaches/reviews each concept in a methodical, step-by-step approach. Then students proceed with worksheet activities or writing assignments.
2. Mr. Stephens presents content and writing assignments small "chunks" to help students understand, apply, and retain concepts.
3. Writing assignments are modeled by Mr. Stephens. After a new or reviewed concept has been taught, he actually "shows" students HOW to apply the new concept in writing.
I do have to admit to not having him write out the complete sentences if there was not need to do so. I taught him what editors do. They take a pen (usually red because it stands out) and they make corrections right on the work itself. So that's what the lad did. He did take some creative license at times and drew pictures of capitals jumping in or pigs dragging in a period. Where writing had to be done (as in completing a sentence) I did have him write the actual sentence which gave us "sounding out the word" time as well.
This program worked well for my son and was a good fit.