Welcome to Sailnet!!
It's always nice to hear about another prospective sailing family. As others have mentioned, and I can attest as well, sailing is a great family past time.
Liek CruisingDad, my wife and I have been sailing since our kids were young. We had three under four (two in diapers) when we got our first boat -- a 24 footer. So, absolutely, it can be done.
But your question seems more about learning
to sail with kids. Many of us had the advantage of already being competent sailors when our kids came along. So I think your situation is different, and the approach you take should probably be different too.
I hope someone will chime in who learned to sail under similar circumstances to yours. But in the meanwhile I will venture a few suggestions.
First, your idea of taking lessons is a great one. But if at all possible, try to get away for the weekend course without the kids. Also, you and your husband should be in different boats with different instructors -- many husband/wife teams report that learning together often does not go too well (not always, though).
So maybe you could both go to the same sailing school, but on successive weekends? This would allow one of you to watch the kids while the other learns more or less worry free.
Later on, as your experience grows, you can introduce the kids to the sailing concepts and pass along your knowledge, in the time honored tradition. (By the way, a small sailing dinghy is a great platform for students of all ages to practice what they've learned.)
When you do finally find yourself out on the water with the kids, remember there is no shame in taking baby steps. You want to acquaint the kids slowly, without any drama. Choose a calm day and putt around with the motor, practicing docking, etc, then anchor and have a little picnic. Next time go a little farther and maybe hoist a sail for a short run. Small steps -- you get the idea.
As far as boats -- a 22 footer will be a bit cozy for a family of five for overnighting -- but you can do it, and it would make a great daysailer/learning platform. It would also be small enough for you to manage without your spouse -- once you've built up enough experience.
Anyway, learning to sail is like embarking on a long voyage. There will be ups and downs, setbacks and satisfaction. Don't get frustrated if it doesn't all click right away. We were all novices at one point, and many of us who have been at it for decades are still learning. But don't let that stop you from getting out there and giving it a try!
And don't hesitate to use Sailnet as a resource. We have a lot of helpful sailors here. Good luck!