Staving off Spicolis

Boys will be boys. But not if Ana Homayoun has anything to say about it. Homayoun is one of a burgeoning number of tutors who have realized that many of boys' school difficulties stem from lack of organization. Donna Goldberg, an organization tutor in Manhattan, began her work 17 years ago after she learned her son, then in seventh grade, wasn't turning in his homework: "He opened his backpack, which was really a black hole, and said ‘Here it is.'" Boys are being outpaced by girls in high school and college, and educators have posited a variety of different culprits (lack of male role models, requiring students to sit in their seats all day, etc.) for the disparity. But there appears to be widespread agreement that boys' difficulty with organization is at least one part of the problem. "The guys just don't seem to develop the skills that involve organization as early," said psychologist Judith Kleinfeld, founder of the Boys Project. Homayoun concurs. Referring to the organizational method she teaches, she said, "Girls pick up on this much faster." As with much else, it seems.

"Giving Disorganized Boys the Tools for Success," by Alan Finder, New York Times, January 1, 2008