Be aware that CC is not a full curriculum. Instead, it is an supplemental enrichment program, designed to work alongside the things you provide at home: mainly math, science and literature.
So, I ordered the Foundations Curriculum Guide for CC off of their website for $50. This provides the structure of the Memory Work for the three 1-year cycles. I was pleased to see that Cycle One dealt with memory work from the Ancient Civilizations, which we were studying at the time. So, for starters, I began posting on chart paper a memory sentence, a science sentence, and a skip-counting chart for a particular multiplication table. The boys copied the memory work in their notebooks on Monday. Then I introduced a song, chant or some sort of motions to help them remember their facts. We would repeat it throughout the school day, at dinner for Dad, in the car, at bedtime--just randomly shouting it out. Because we made up crazy songs and silly motions, they never balked about practicing their memory work--it was just another wacky thing that they did with Mom.
For example, Cycle One, Week 4 uses the following as a History Sentence:
"The 7 Wonders of the Ancient World are: Colussus of Rhodes, The Great Pyramids, The Mausoleum, The Temple of Artemis, The Hanging Gardens, Pharos Lighthouse and the Temple of Zeus".
Here are the motions we made up for this week:
Classical Conversations sells audio CDs of memory work that you can listen to in the car or at home. Mine was on back-order so we had to get a little creative and make up our own for the first few weeks! Go to YouTube and search "Classical Conversations Science Memory Work" or whatever your working on. There will be several CC students shown there singing their memory work. It's a great place to start, but don't get locked in to their versions. Making it your own is going to make it stick for a lifetime and that's really the whole point.
Another vital piece of their memory work includes the beautiful--and I mean GORGEOUS-- history timeline cards from Veritas Press. Really, everything from Veritas Press is of the upmost quality and beauty. I even want some of their products that my children have long outgrown! Any-hoo, the timeline cards are a great tool for memorizing the order of major historical facts. Starting with Creation, and going all the way up to modern times, your children can learn the events in order, but also flip the cards over for more details and see other books they can read to expand their knowledge of that topic.
The curriculum guide will also tell you which experiments they use from "201 Awesome Experiments" by Janet VanCleave. I happened to already own a copy of this book, so we plan on doing many of these projects through the summer!
Classical Conversations uses the Institute of Excellence in Writing (IEW). I found a used copy at a curriculum sale for 1/3 the price! I was planning on using it anyway for the upcoming year. So looking forward to this!
The Geography portion is a great guide to your study of the world. We use Tapestry of Grace and its Geography section is very thorough as well. As we study a place, we map it and label it using Amy Pak's phenomenal Ancient Maps. Check out her products here! My kids love doing mapwork because everything looks like a treasure map. I've even let them burn the edges of a few to look like authentic archeological finds :)
We are skipping the Latin grammar portion right now and focusing on Greek and Latin root words. Plus, we live in Florida and have got to get started with Spanish (even though my heart is in French--sigh).
It is helpful (and I believe healthy) for your child to share written essays or oral memory work that they are proud of, to an audience. This can be done at quarterly unit celebrations with family and friends, publishing in your group's newsletter, student blogs, Teacher Tube, etc. This is something that CC advocates at their meetings and I wholeheartedly agree.
So, don't be discouraged if Classical Conversations is a little out of your budget right now. You can still incorporate some of its beauty into your regular homeschool week. Just be sure to do in-depth study for some of the things that you memorize--at least somewhere down the road. Memory Work is only good for so long--it is lost unless it is expanded upon, in my opinion. Again, I am in no way discounting the quality of Classical Conversations. Most of the people that I have talked to that have gone through the program love it. This is just another road to a similar destination. And you'll be left with a little extra pocket money along the journey.