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.
We were not overly interested in learning about the U. S. Coast Guard—but when I saw that Exploring the U. S. Life Saving Service 1878-1915, 17 Workshops with 120 Activities, by Rebecca Locklear, included a chapter about safety when hiking or boating, I was interested in reviewing this book. As you know if you have followed my blog for a few months, I have some sons who love to go hiking, and our whole family actually went on a longish hike a few weeks ago. I thought it would be good for the boys to go through some material on ways to be safer. Once we got the book, we found that there are some very interesting stories in it! We spent awhile looking at the pictures and reading the stories together.
We read the chapter titled “Prepare to Stay Alive” in a couple of sittings. The first time, we read the first couple of pages and discussed a scenario in which a lone hiker gets hurt—what should she do, in a cold, wet wind, to stay alive? What will her priorities be? That scenario sparked quite an animated discussion! I appreciated the suggestions given in the book.
We read the rest of the chapter as we were traveling over the mountains (in the safety of our van!) last weekend. We discussed, at some length, what ten items it would be wise to have in pockets for survival in various situations. Because the boys have had some experience in the mountains, they did pretty well at thinking through the most important items to have on their bodies (as opposed to in a backpack, which could easily be lost), but it was good to have ideas for boating excursions, as well. One of the things we hadn’t ever thought about was a way of signaling for rescue. The boys bought several survival blankets, which fold into a very tiny parcel but open up into something large enough to wrap up in. These can also double as a signaling device—they are a valuable little item! One very interesting project suggested in this section was making a solar still, for distilling fresh water from salt water. We’re in the wrong time of year to do this here (we’ve seen the sun for an hour this week), but we built one of these stills just to see what they’re like. Even just sitting in the house overnight, some drops of water formed on the underside of the plastic wrap, so it looks like it would work. Maybe we’ll get some seawater next time we’re at the beach and give it a better try. I hope my boys never need to apply the survival tips we read about and discussed, but it was good to talk about what could happen and how to deal with some possible scenarios.
This book begins by telling the history of the U. S. Lifesaving Service. There are a number of old photos, as well as text that tells the story. The next several chapters describe life at the stations. We enjoyed the skit titled, “The Bird We Didn’t Eat.” We didn’t act it out, but read it together, with different people reading the different parts. The skunk stories were quite funny, too. Several chapters describe rescues. We found that fascinating. We didn’t do the activity in which real-life situations were described and teams were to figure out whether the people involved lived or died—but I think it would be a great thing to do on a trip. This would make for some lively discussions!
At the end of the book are suggestions for art activities and music, and suggestions for topics to research further. They look quite interesting—but we didn’t have time to even explore these areas. There is also an appendix of recipes. This book is crammed full of information and activities—it would make a great summer unit study for the whole family! Be sure to visit Rebecca Locklear’s website and sign up for her emails. She is gifted at putting together projects that groups can use to learn about history by doing things.
Sixty-two other families have been using this book and one about the Mayflower. Click on the image below to read more reviews of these amazing books!