You might want to check out the American Sail Association (ASA)
Learn how to sail with American Sailing Association.
OR US Sailing Association (US Sail)
US SAILING - National Governing Body of Sailing in the U.S.
Both of these organization sponsor
a sailing education system that is conducted by certified instructors in all sorts of really fun places. There maybe one near you. A class from either of these is very worthwhile. They also put out a set of publications that go along with the courses.
They both offer a similar Basic Keel boat
Course that is offered as a one week class or sometimes a 2 twice a week for three weeks class evenings or weekends for those that have to work
for a living. You get on a boat
with an instructor and a few other students and you do it as well as learn it. You watch others and do it yourself. When you can sail in circles and not go anywhere without hitting anything you pass.
Once you can get to that level you can learn the rest quickly. Starting out right really helps you a lot. Many of these courses can be done as a live aboard class in a great destination
. It could pass as a fun vacation
if you wanted it to. Most of the students in these classes
are adults though they teach kids
too. So you shouldn't have to worry about being shown up by an 8 eight year old.