I decided to put a post together about this topic since I had a reader ask. Really, there is no mystery...I just use each program in its entirety. I just substitute SWR for Sonlight's LA. Here are a couple of items worth noting:
SWR is a complete LA program for K-2/3. It includes all of the necessary phonics, handwriting, grammar, and writing for those ages. Despite that, I'm adding Cursive First for handwriting (really, we're finished with this), First Language Lessons (grammar), and Writing with Ease (writing) this year for 1st grade.
Cursive First was designed to use with SWR to teach cursive. There's not much to it but it provided just enough support to give me confidence teaching cursive to D-Man. It does include worksheets that correspond with learning the phonograms. We used some of them, but ditched them when we started the spelling lists for the year. D-man is pretty intolerant of busy work and writing the words throughout the week gives him ample handwriting practice. We sometimes have little refreshers on how two letters connect (mostly after a straight connecter, but he's getting better each week).
Writing with Ease (WWE) and First Language Lessons (FLL) are not necessary for most people using SWR. I'm adding them because those are the areas in which I am the least confident teaching. I learned very little grammar in school so the scripted nature of FLL will be a big help. I plan to teach the boys writing classically and WWE is giving us a good head start on that road. However, instead of using the WWE workbooks, I'm correlating our narration and dictation with our SL and Noeo reading. Another reason is simply that I love to supplement with great resources. If you've read my blog at all, you know that by now and take my supplementing with a grain of salt :).
I do still use the Sonlight readers alongside SWR. SWR does call for assigned reading several weeks into the program (after list I-1). I found the recommendation to wait on assigned reading a good one. The author, Wanda Sanseri, calls reading too early "torture reading" and waits until the child has the skills he needs to read well. Before they start reading books, they read the spelling lists several times a week to practice decoding and fluency. By the time D-Man got to list I-1, he started in week 24 of Sonlight's Readers 1 (after the I Can Read It Series). His fluency took off and he was soon capable of reading at a 4th grade level. I've chosen to keep him tracking in Sonlight's reader programs so he's working his way through Readers 2. They are an easy read for him, but he's enjoying the books and often chooses tougher material from the library as his free reading selections. I have him read all of the Sonlight books aloud to me while he reads his free reading selections silently. His reading and spelling levels are still steadily improving through the SWR spelling lists and enrichments. C-Monster is a bit of a different animal as he started reading before 3 and likes to pick up Fun Tales (Readers K) or Bob Books so I expect him to continue this trend over the next year and possibly getting through the first 24 weeks of Readers 1 (which he's capable of reading now) or farther. Between our collection and the library, we'll have plenty of books to keep him busy.