for a fast home use machine I've found that making a "/" (root) partition and a swap partition work just fine. It's what Red Hat 7.3 does by default (with the small addition of creating /boot on it's own partition but other then that, RH i guess recommends it.
Mandrake makes the /home directory it's own partition which is smart so it's up to you.
The bare requirements are '/' and swap and your set. the rest is personal preference. Atleast from what I've discovered and of course how the machine is being used. Slicing it all up into detailed partitions = more security capabilities n more but for home and for being new to GNU/Linux, stick with the basics
Hope that helps