I would just make sure you leave some way to get online. Don't make new Linux installations on every machine all at once. I learned linux at a time when there wasn't much documentation, and users had to know how to tweak the code a bit, or it wouldn't work. But, I had worked on UNIX shells for a few years beforehand, and Linux is kinda the same. I'm not a strong believer in learning Linux before you use it, because you can't.
It's like reading how to take a shower and get ready for work. Now matter how much you read about it, you still won't know until you do it. A ways back I always made a drive image, so if the system didn't boot after one of my brilliant maneuvers, I could boot the rescue system and write the good image back to the drive I messed up.
SuSe Enterprise Linux is packaged with 800 pp. of documentation, and none of it will ever get you out of a jam. I eventually settled on Debian for my desktop system (laptop actually), because it just seemed to work the best, and it has pretty many (~30,000) packages. But I started on SuSE, before Novell bought 'em out.
I use Fedora 17 on another system, and I still use opensuse 12.1 on yet another system. But corporate distros bow to commercial interests and so sometimes exclude packages that have abuse potential but that are quite necessary for doing certain tasks. Debian has no commercial interests, because it doesn't sell Linux. Most Linux distros are debian-based.
YES!, Ubuntu and all its forks are Debian! Ubuntu just pulls a bunch of packages off the Debian unstable branch and covers them with dessert-topping and window-dressing. But no one is supposed to know, especially not Ubuntu users. So don't tell anyone! Debian is for after you've been nursed on Fedora (Red Hat), opensuse, or Ubuntu.
But let's not forget probably the most rock-stable distro of all: Slax! I would use slax if it had online mirror repositories. But it still is really good; a bit tricky for beginners though.
And Gentoo and derivatives (Sabayon) are seriously from a different solar system, but if you like it, Gentoo can't be beat. Mandriva (or the Mageia fork) is a beginner Linux with ~20,000 available packages. In their opinion, it's the best Linux OS out there. And, they say their distro guarantees evolutivity. So, who knows what that might mean?