I, too, remember a lot about social studies in grade school. Although we learned mostly about American history, we were also taught about foreign countries. I remember specifically Japan and Europe in perhaps fourth or fifth grade.
I did a written report in the seventh grade titled "Ancient Mesopotamia." I struggled with the spelling and pronunciation but never questioned the assignment. It was one of the topics we were studying. This was in 1970. My parents, both teachers, must not have questioned it either, as I remember my mother helping me with the research in our National Geographics and 1968 World Book Encyclopedia.
When my own children were studying similar topics around this age, they were the ones saying, "This is stupid. Who cares about ancient Mesopotamia?" I told them, "You never know when you may need this information as an adult." I knew it was more about the discipline of research and reporting the topic assigned. I also never questioned the topics but stressed the learning process by getting the facts straight.
To Sheryl Bradshaw: I'm not explaining why such topics have a rightful place in our schools. But they have, in fact, been part of the school curriculum for many years.
GAY PILSNER, Cape Girardeau