Anyway, Anddos it´s a good idea to take it a few steps at a way, first learn the basics, then try and go for more complicated stuff, since if you don´t you´ll get discouraged quite easily. I started with a challenge posted around here (and I did run into much trouble, but the end resut was worth it, I wa sproud as hell of my sub). So try to do those F1 lessons, they were designed to be easy to comprehend so give them a try.
Yes, you should start out with the simpler things, but to answer your question, you can make a head out of sub-divs and nurbs easily. If you were to use polygons, I would recomend going to Polygons>Average Vertices <box>. Go to the help menu for this window and you'll be taken to a document that explains how to make polygons more like sub-divs. If you have Maya Unlimited, however, you should deffinently go with Sub-divs or nurbs over this particular poly proceedure. As said before, there are dozons of ways to make a head and if you are starting out new with Maya, you might want to look into some good tutorials.
Yeah, I should probably change that to "you should deffinently go with Sub-divs or nurbs over this particular poly proceedure if you're like me and don't like to use poly's for such things." I shouldn't be biased.