So ... without Forms, where do you start in learning VB.NET?
With a good old traditional Console Application! In that way, you can study the elemental components of VB.NET and how they interact without the distraction of Forms (or Controls or XML Schema's or any of the dozens of other ways that VB.NET can create beautiful software). One example is Jesse Liberty's Learning Visual Basic .NET. In my review, I point out that Jesse doesn't even discuss Windows until very late in his book. Microsoft frequently uses console applications in their documentation, too.
So ... before you proceed further, you should know a few things about Console Applications in VB.NET.
One of the main things that Visual Studio .NET does for you with the Console Program template is give you a running jump on the code you need. In the case of a Console app, it's pretty simple - more like a running 'hop'.
Contrast this with a Windows app. A Console app boils things down to the fundamentals.
In fact, it's so fundamental that you don't even need Visual Studio.
And here's a little secret: Visual Basic .NET is free! Yes, you heard me right, free. You can download the .NET Framework SDK (if you have a REALLY fastconnection) or just pay a nominal fee to have it shipped on CD and everything you need to compile and run VB.NET is right there. Microsoft only charges for Visual Studio .NET.