Re: How much writing for a 1st grade boy??
This is coming from an aspiring home school mom who currently works in a K-12 school with 9 students:
At that age, I prefer to just get them used to writing a little every day; you don't need anything formal at this point IMO. For my K and 1st grade students last year, I made a book out of big lined paper. They first drew a picture on one side, and then I had them tell me about the picture. Then I had them tell me one or two sentences that they wanted to write about the picture and I helped them with their sentences (with sounding out words but not telling them how to spell anything). That's called "kid writing." When they were done writing, I wrote what it said in "adult writing" to model correct capitalization, spelling, grammar, etc. So every day they got a mini lesson on writing or grammar based on what they wrote.
Some of the kids would write about the same things all the time...zombies, volcanoes, monsters (things I didn't exactly want my children writing about but the important thing was that they were writing). As the year progressed, they wrote more and more about their pictures. Also, they knew that we would write every day, and they looked forward to it. I let them pick out what they wanted to write and draw about (within certain boundaries of course), which helped them get excited about writing.
My daughter just turned 5 so we aren't doing any formal writing right now, but she loves to draw and will now come to me or DH and ask for help sounding out words for her pictures. If I would ask her to sit down and write those words, I know she wouldn't want to do it.