I think I mentioned this in another (probably irrelevent) thread, but learning for yourself is good, but some of the nuances can't simply be learned from a "book."
One example of this is when I had The Dish Network. I had stumbled across a half hour show in which there was a gentleman showing how to use various techniques on how to use the different features within photoshop. (I think he was using 4.0 in the studies)
I learned more in a week of programs than I had learned on my own. (CCN ch. 9405)
I would suggest you go ahead and take a "Leisure learning" class which aren't that much. (here in Houston they range from $50-$150)
<looks for two pennies in drawer>