Welcome to the Collaboration Engineer. This is a blog that is about many technologies, not only Collaboration and UC, but also some Routing-Switching and Security as well. I honestly try to keep it interesting and easy to use.
Most of the things that you see here are things that I have experienced while working as a Consultant on the field.
In the past, I have always struggled to find the correct guidance when studying for a topic that I want to learn. My approach is same for every technology I want to master, being at work, just for fun or something that I feel I need to know..
Using a Home lab is very easy and fun to put together. Start small and then begin upgrading your lab as time and $$ permits. I highly recommend using a home lab and start using it like an Enterprise Network where your family members are your clients (which sometimes can become more difficult).