I tried many planners, but usually inexpensive ones because I am also cheap. Why spend money on something I probably will forget to use? Then my sister told me about Staples' ARC planners, and now I am hooked! Staples did a great job designing the ARC system so that it can be adapted to meet anyone's needs.
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What are ARC planners?ARC planners are "build-your-own-planners." They do sell a few already assembled, but in general you buy the pieces you want and organize the binder however you like. It uses discs as the spine, and the paper can be popped on and off the discs.
If premade planners frustrate you, then you may like the ARC planner. Right now we have so many things going on: homeschool, swim team, chorus, business, blogging, and on and on. I need to be able to have each week together, plus I need space to plan for the week. In other binders, I never had enough room.
Also, the discs come in two sizes. This was a big selling point for me, because I have tried keeping everything in one binder and splitting things into multiple binders, but it never works for me. Three-ring binders are either too large or busting at the seams. With the ARC planner, I can make a smaller (and lighter) binder to carry around and later, I can just pop the pages out and move them. This could be great for teachers, because smaller binders could be used for things like the gradebook, guided reading notes, literature circles, math centers, etc.
Which parts of the ARC are customizable?ALL OF THEM. For real. They make a number of pre-made pieces, but they also sell an ARC hole punch so you can use this system with any printable pages you want to use! I have even thought about printing a cover, laminating it, and using that instead of the premade pieces.
What pieces are available to purchase?The pieces I found recently included covers, dividers, calendar page sets, folders, pouches, pen grips, business card holders, multiple paper versions, and the discs. They also sell a one page punch and a multiple page punch. The pages are available in two sizes as well.
How much does it cost to make a binder?The cost really depends upon how many pieces you want to buy. I purchased a sample of nearly every piece, so I forked out a lot up front. However, I have enough pieces leftover to make a second binder. Also, the paper itself can be pricey, so I will probably print punch my own pages at home in the future.
Are there any negatives?One thing I worried about was the pages falling out. So far, mine have not popped out. However, the pages on top can pull out fairly easily. You also have to be careful when turning your pages around the discs - they don't slide around quite as easily as a spiral-bound planner.
It was also a little pricy, in my opinion, but I would say comparable to other customizable binders. I believe the ARC planner could be cheaper in the end if you use fewer pieces.
If you are looking for a planner that you can 100% make your own, the ARC planner may be for you!