Giving Disorganized Boys the Tools for Success By ALAN FINDER LOS ALTOS, Calif. Can we take a look at your backpack? Ana Homayoun repeats that question countless times a day. No, she does not screen airline passengers or work security at a basketball arena. Ms. Homayoun is a tutor. She helps teenagers with subjects like math and science, but she particularly specializes in teaching boys how to become more organized. One afternoon in her cozy office suite in this affluent suburb south of San Francisco, she asked John Ferrari, 14, to go through a two-inch stack of papers he pulled from his backpack. He sorted through the papers, placing them in separate piles writing, spelling, vocabulary, tests to bring order to his loose-leaf binder. Oh, heres my class schedule, what a relief, said John, an eighth grader. A moment later, he stumbled across something even more valuable. I have to turn this in tomorrow, John said. Its the name I want on my diploma. With girls outperforming boys these days in high school and college, educators have been sparring over whether there is a crisis in the education of boys. Some suggest the need for more single-sex schools, more male role models or new teaching techniques. Others are experimenting with physical changes in classrooms that encourage boys to move around, rather than trying to anchor them to their seats. But as they debate, high-priced tutors and college counselors have jumped into the fray by charging as much as $100 an hour and up to bring boys to heel. The tutors say their main focus is organizational skills because boys seem generally to have more difficulty getting organized and multitasking than girls do. And so private counselors in places as diverse as Chicago, New York City, Sarasota, Fla., and Bennington, Vt., who guide juniors and seniors in applying to college, have devised elaborate systems from color-coded, four-month calendars that mark dozens of deadlines to file boxes that students must take to each session. Donna Goldberg began working with students in Manhattan on how to get organized 17 years ago. Her inspiration was her own son, then in seventh grade. Mrs. Goldberg was astonished to learn that he had not been turning in any homework. He opened his backpack, which was really a black hole, and he said, Here it is, she said. He had not understood that in seventh grade he was responsible for handing in his homework, instead of waiting to be asked. article continued here. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Being disorganized myself I understand the importance organiization can play in various aspects of one's life. However, I have trouble with the concept that this is the only thing holding some boys back from being better students. I hate to just throw labels around; but I think something else was wrong with the tutors son if he couldn't figure out that he needed to hand in homework after it was complete. That's just odd and has nothing to do with disorganization.