Letter to the Editor

Social studies has ancient focus

Sunday, September 27, 2009

As I look through my child's school work, my concern is growing. Sixth-grade social studies in my day was usually about the United States but did include climates and ways of life in other parts of the world. I never remember learning about ancient superheroes from the era "before Christ." In fact, other parents I am talking to have never heard of the characters Gilgamesh, Humbaba or Enkidu or the city of Uruk.

My child told me that Gilgamesh was the first superhero from B.C. times. As I look up the material using the Web address at the top of my daughter's worksheet, Mesopotamia is an ancient region of Asia and includes modern-day Iraq. Why can the child who can't name the presidents or doesn't know much about American history tell me about superheroes in other countries? I thought social studies was supposed to be more fact-based. How in the world do we get facts from times before Christ? If anyone can explain why any of this has a rightful place in out schools, please reply.