Linux in the home, the office and in Education
Linux is a very able operating system and a suitable platform for the home office and education environments, it is also suitable for playing games. There is a wide choice of distributions and a fairly steep learning curve once you have selected a distribution. One advantage of Linux is that having learned how to do something once, that rule pretty much applies to all other versions and distributions.
There is no harm in trying out each of the top three distributions. I'm not an operating system fascist but I do question the motives of the leading distro providers and for this reason Debian is my personal favourite although I also use RedHat, SuSE in the workplace and at home.
Linux will co-exist with microsoft, however I like the "clean break" approach. Get hold of a reasonably decent specification PC and install Linux, or install a few versions of Linux, I suggest the clean break approach because it's hardly fair to run Windows for the past few years on its own and then to evaluate Linux on a dual boot PC. Also please don't scrimp and save on your Linux hardware, give it good quality high specification hardware. I am confident that Linux will make better use of your electronic equipment than competing propriety brands will.
Linux Tools and environment under Win32
You may wish to make a gradual migration to using open source, to get comfortable with the Linux Tools and interface in which case you should install cygwin and KDE for cygwin on XP or Windows 2000. This will give you have a very user friendly KDE interface and will be able to run a surprising number to linux programs and tools on a Win32 platform.
Free Open Source Programs and Tools
The following will operate on Linux and on Win32, giving you the advantage of unified interface and saving you a load of ca$h, although having said that there is nothing wrong with paying good money for good software! TexPad is and example of good software worth paying for,
Building the Perfect Linux Server or WorkStation. by Roland Munyard
Open Source Software in a Windows Environment
Many of these applications will work in both Window and Linux
More than one million children are Homeschooling in the United States and approximately 150,000 children are homeschooled in the United Kingdom, (about 50,000 families homeschool in England)