T J Tulley,
Here is an rsync command that will create a mirror image of your home folder on /media/sda3/BackUp. Assuming that there is such a folder. The "v" is the verbose option that will allow you to see what is happening. Ordinarily you would not put it in, but for the sake of seeing how it works I did. The "a" preserves the permissions. The "r" is the recursive flag, which includes folders in the back up. The "delete" removes anything from the destination that isn't in the source. For an example, if you had deleted something in your home folder since the last time you backed up.
sudo rsync -avr --delete /home/fred /media/sda3/BackUp
In order for this to work, both the source and the destination must be mounted.
This is a simple example for using rsync. It is a very powerful command and can get complicated if you want to do complicated things.
PS: I like your willingness to stick with things. I misjudged that in you. I apologize.
EDIT: If you try to apply this command to copying from a usb device to a folder in home for example, be sure to not use the "delete" command, as it will remove everything in the destination folder that isn't in the source folder. Example:
sudo rsync -rv /media/sdb1/pictures /home/fred/My_Pictures