curriculum reviews, history

Exploring the US Life-Saving Service Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

I was intrigued by Rebecca Locklear‘s Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1878-1915: 17 Student Workshops with 120 Activities because we have learned a lot about maritime rescues by living near the Atlantic Ocean.  We have toured the Life Saving Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia many times.  It is a fascinating tour and we learn new things each time.

We also learned about Life Saving Stations when we toured the Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  Wilbur and Orville made friends with the servicemen there and asked for their help on many occasions.  It’s pretty neat to think that the U.S. Life-Saving Service was only in existence for 37 years, but it happened to coincide with the Wright Brothers flight in North Carolina!

I think the one thing that we remember the most about these rescues was some of the things used to save people.  One of the most memorable is the “breeches buoy”.  We found the rescue devices section in the book and read up on it.  A breeches buoy was a  tube or buoy with pants attached to it would carry a person from the ship to the shore across a line.  A life car was also used in a similar way, but could carry more people at a time.

It amazes me to think about how hard these surfmen worked to save the lives of those who were shipwrecked or in need of assistance.  This book goes in depth about how they performed their day to day activities and how they trained.

When I had the opportunity to review this book, I was very interested to see what else I could learn. Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service is a 120 page ebook.  It is written for students in 4-12 grade.  There are 17 student workshops and 120 different activities.  This is a very thorough study about the Life Saving Stations.  These lesson are written to be in a classroom type setting, but could very easily be used with one child.  Each lesson is presented so all you need to do is read it.  There are activities and discussion questions for each section.  All the work is already done for you, the only prep work you need to do is make sure you have what is listed for each lesson.  Ms. Locklear has done a wonderful job researching, finding pictures, sharing family and other stories and planning meaningful activities for each learning style.

Activities include:

  • Games
  • Drama
  • Cooking
  • Music
  • Stories
  • Science
  • Research
  • Art



One fun activity that we chose to do was to paint an animal symbol to represent the character of the surfmen using dots. This was an easy one to include my younger children.  For this one, we went by the example given.  Sea stars represent love.

Rebecca Locklear offers a monthly newsletter with teaching tips, news and resources.  Click here to sign up.

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Many other families on the Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to also review the Life Saving Service book.  Another book was also available for review: The Mayflower at Cape Cod – Stories, activities, and research that connect 1620 with life today.  This book is a little smaller and only has 7 lessons.  It is written for students in grades 6-12.  Click on the graphic below to read reviews from families who used these books.  With so many activities between the two books, we all used them a little differently.



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