I've come to the conclusion that I'm an idiot. I now need to order another workbook for this project, because the one I currently have is next to impossible to use without already knowing basic kana. It would be possible for me to use online resources to learn them, which I started to do, but it's not practical. I simply don't have enough time to sink into learning that, on top of the rest of the lessons. It is an entirely different process to go through to master even the basic kana, than it is t learn the vocabulary to speak the language like I intend. I could theoretically use the workbooks side-by-side, to learn to read/write and speak Japanese at the same time, but it would be slower than doing either of those individually. My primary goal, at least for now, is just learning the spoken language, so I'm putting the kana on the backburner for the time being.
On the bright side, I did pick up a bit more of the oddities of Japanese Grammar, in attempting to work using the kana. There are actually apparently something like 5 different types of kana, but they aren't used except for emphasis, or to look dramatic. Much the same way that we might use a bold or archaic-looking font with English letters. Another use would be more as symbols than "letters." Hentaigana, for instance, is almost only used on signs of noodle shops, or other generic, recognizable symbols. I'm not describing this as well as I'd like, but I'm having difficulty making comparisons to English. It's simply a different way of approaching the concept of language altogether.