You can definitely learn the basics using Elements. I used it myself (version 9) before taking the plunge to Photoshop CC.
Try to go through genuine channels when considering CS6 as you might get burned otherwise; lots of people with peg-legs and parrots on their shoulders, if you know what I mean.
There's also the Photoshop Photography Program if you haven't caught that yet. (Photoshop CC plus Lightroom 5 and Bridge CC for $10 USD/month. The caveat is that you have to agree to a year; if you cancel, you'll have to pay the remaining 50% after the initial 30 days.) The offer ends this month but they bring it back often.