For me, the best way to start learning a programming language is to type in the "hello, world" program, exactly as it's printed in your text. If you have errors, you can check with the book. Usually, if I have made a mistake with the "hello, world" program, it will usually be the same mistake as in the first exercise of homework.
Another tip is:
If you cannot do a problem/ course, you need to buy a simpler book. Do the cooresponding chapter and when you understand it, start on your classrooom text.
Also, the beginning of any computer course is always difficult ... but, as you get better, the programming becomes easier. So, pay your dues and put in the time to practice. Just do your best to learn it.
Stay tuned, for I will be blogging about what you may need to do if your "simpler" book is too hard for you.