Another Charlotte Mason mom recently asked me about memory work. Here's how we do it:
On our dining room table, right in front of my placemat, is a Bible and a book of poetry. I have this little problem. If I don't see it, I forget it. This makes it really easy for me.
While the kids are eating breakfast, I review our memory verse for the week and have everyone repeat it after me. (I usually use a few signs or hand motions to help them remember.) Then we go around the room and each kid has a chance to recite it by themselves. This week, we're learning
Every good and perfect gift is from above. - James 1:17a
Next is poetry. This takes about 10 minutes max. I read a poem or two of whatever poet we're studying at the time. Currently, that's Robert Frost. Then I'll flip to the one we're memorizing. Right now, we're working on "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," one of my favorites. I have several strategies for poetry memorization. The first day, I read it through once and then we'll just work on the first two lines. I say one line, they repeat it, then I say the next line, they repeat. I'll do that twice.
The next day, I'll read the first stanza and work on the next 2 lines, etc etc. (This is easy so far, right?) I like to use a lot of dramatic inflection and gestures as I recite poetry. They have a hard time saying the poem monotone after hearing it that way for days. (My little joke on them. HAHA)
When we're close to the end of the poem, I'll have everyone close their eyes while I read it all the way through. Then I have each child in turn, stand up and recite as much as they can, eyes closed. The next day, I'll again read the whole thing to them with their eyes closed, and ask them to stand up and recite it to everyone with their eyes open.
These techniques have really worked for us. Try it out with a simple poem and let me know how it goes.