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Reviews for U.S. Life-Saving Service Unit Study!

By July 16, 2020July 31st, 2020History and Drama

49 homeschool families graciously volunteered to use and review Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1878-1915.  Available in print or digitally ~

 Included are links to full reviews with photos of  activities.

     “This is a unique book dedicated to educating students (and adults) about the U.S. Life-Saving Service, which was the predecessor of the U.S. Coast Guard. Filled with ideas, discussions, class activities, and short plays, the book guides teachers and parents in sharing the story of our brave ancestors in their dedication to saving lives from the perils of the sea.

     Many books have been written about the U.S. Life-Saving Service, but none have included such innovative and interactive ideas, which provide fun and unforgettable ways to learn about this forgotten part of our past. If you are looking for something new and exciting for your students to do, this is the book you need!”  Debbie Jett, Editor, Wreck & Rescue Journal, U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association

“This is such a niche product, but it’s a gem of a find. I like that Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service is targeted to older students, since a lot of times cool unit studies are made for elementary students. The content is really unlike anything you will find elsewhere.” Jenn L., Educator

“Each unit has engaging activities. Kids don’t just sit and listen to information. They are actively discussing and doing activities to learn about the U.S. Life-Saving Service. I’m impressed with how hands-on and interactive Rebecca’s books are.” Sharon R., Educator  FULL REVIEW HERE     

“My favorite thing about this curriculum is that it appeals to boys in a big way, especially their desire to meet heroes and be a hero. Yes, girls will love this, too (I do!), but it is hard to find stuff that guys just love and latch on to.  I appreciated the depth of the material and how much fun Rebecca Locklear made every workshop!” Meredith C., Educator  FULL REVIEW HERE      

     “We used clues to guess various sea creatures the men ate, laughed at true stories, identified types of ships by their silhouettes, translated Morse Code, used critical thinking to figure out if rescues were successful in true scenarios of the past, created our own citrus smelling salts, practiced polite manners, learned how to find the good in poor situations, and partook in other interesting activities.

     There are additional sections in the book to further your study. There are projects involving art and music; research ideas that include archaeology, Coston Flares, rescue devices, ships and safety, social issues, and much more; information on why ships sink, and recipes for food sampling of the time. There is also a glossary with 35 sea terms with brief descriptions.” Erika L, Educator FULL REVIEW HERE

“Rebecca has done a fantastic job bringing this period of time to life through stories, plays, poems and activities. I love how everything is laid out and that it’s not parent intensive.” Erin A., Educator FULL REVIEW HERE 

    “We really enjoyed reading the various stories…as well as looking at the amazing photographs.   

  • We learned how the members of the team wore numbers on their shirts that showed their ranking. 
  • The kids had a riot reading a story about two kids who were kicked out of class because they reeked of a skunk (I won’t spoil the story, but the way they got “sprayed” wasn’t what you would expect). 
  • They also really enjoyed learning about the Wig-Wag flag signals. 
  • The kids were thrilled that they recognized songs from their monthly folk song lessons.  They were able to sing along with Blow the Man Down, How Can I Keep from Singing, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, I Saw Three Ships, and Buffalo Gals.

     This is a resource that as they get older, we can revisit and complete the more complex activities designed for older students.” Brenda P., Educator  

 “There is just tons of information in this book!  There is history of course, but science, culture study, survivor skills, music, art, and more! The skit, “The Bird We Didn’t Eat” was hilarious but brought out the stress the men were under and how they might relieve some of it.” Jenny U., Educator

“Jumping off points can happen all over the place with a unit study like this. It is rich and full.

  • We pulled up the Perform Music section, reading about instruments and singing the songs.
  • In the workshop Molasses and Gingerbread, there is a link to a video on how it is made and a story about the wife of a captain.

     This will work well for a classroom setting, a co-op setting, or a family with multiple ages wanting to study together. It could also work as an independent study. There is a lot of flexibility and it would be simple to adapt activities to fit the level and ability of students involved.”   Lori H., Educator  FULL REVIEW HERE

     “There are so many games, activities, photos, stories, etc. that I felt like we barely scratched the surface, but I think that is what makes Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service such a fun choice.  I especially enjoyed Rebecca Locklear’s writing style. This book is engaging, well-written, and full of interesting historical facts and quotes. It really is a comprehensive look at the U.S. Life-Saving Service and what it was like for those that were a part of it.” Rachel K., Educator   

“This curriculum is well-researched, beautifully illustrated, and well-written.”  Katie S., Educator

“If you have a child who is an outdoor enthusiast, loves to learn about survival skills, enjoys hiking or boating, or just loves to learn about unique pieces of history, this downloadable or print unit study from Rebecca Locklear is a great fit!

     Not only are many activities included, but many types of learning styles and interests are addressed. This book will appeal to your logical thinkers, your artists, your actors, your wiggly learners, your book learners, and everything in between. 

     The hands-on activities include making gingerbread in a jar, performing a skit (the script is included in this curriculum), playing a game, designing and creating an anchor, making smelling salts, role playing, completing a cold water experiment, and more.” Katie D., Educator FULL REVIEW HERE

“They loved the stories and skits that were included.  It helped them learn the information in a less traditional way that didn’t feel like learning.” Joanna Y., Educator  FULL REVIEW HERE

“I really enjoyed this book. I definitely recommend this resource to groups!  It is super-easy to use, everything is laid out for you, and it is a very interesting part of our nation’s maritime history. It can definitely be used for a wide range of students (and it’s really interesting for adults, as well!)  It’s just an all-around great product.” Sheila C., Educator FULL REVIEW HERE  


“One of the biggest things I appreciated about this unit study was that the human element was emphasized: character qualities, work ethic, strength of will and bravery. All these aspects were pointed out numerous times in various ways to help us understand what it really took to be part of this service.”  Annette V., Educator FULL REVIEW HERE

This has been a unique and enjoyable program for us to use.   The very first thing to start with is the Introductory Workshop.  This is important because it gives students basic information about the U.S. Life-Saving Service.  This is the springboard that you will use to jump into workshops and activities.  

  • One activity is to create a museum walk with nine given photos and captions.  It’s fun!
  • Another activity that we really enjoyed was rock painting.  We used topic 2 so the assignment was to think of an animal that could represent a surfman and create a rock painting of your chosen animal.  Our rocks include a turtle, sea star, jellyfish, narwhal, and sea bird.
  • We also created an anchor design with the objective of connecting with the life-savers through a creative experience.

I look forward to completing more of the projects and activities with the kids.  Kathryn C., Educator  FULL REVIEW HERE

For a specific overview that spells out what the life-savers did, go directly to this post. Teresa L., Educator  FULL REVIEW HERE

“I have quickly become a fan of Rebecca Locklear, and I’ll definitely be adding more of her books to our studies.

     I’ll tell you something…this was not a subject I would have naturally gravitated to on my own. My attitude turned around as I began scrolling through the pages. It was the stories that first snagged my attention. I love learning about the experience of people. For me, it humanizes the material.

     There are plenty of fantastic art projects –whether designing a watercolor collage, painting a beautiful design on smooth rocks, or creating a poem. There is an activity for every student. It’s a wonderful study!”  Laurie G., Educator FULL REVIEW HERE

For ALL 49 reviews, scroll mid-way down the page on THIS SITE.

Rebecca Locklear answers questions (above left) after giving a  family workshop at Old Harbor Life-Saving Station, Cape Cod, MA.