"Mom and dad?"
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I would agree with you for some alphabets, but the written Hebrew letters don't look much like the print ones. So the one skill wouldn't enforce another much. I found flashcards (i.e. Memrise) to be fairly effective for the Hebrew alphabet. In fact, it's just a matter of several hours. Once you don't make mistakes with the flashcards, it's fairly easy to start slowly using the keyboard.
I found it helpful to keep a chart in front of me with the letters and their sounds and guess how a word would sound before I heard it. It was difficult, but after a while I found that I could normally (>75%) guess the exact pronounciation of new words before I heard them.
I feel you, duolingo doesnt give much background, I see this place more as to practice or learn new vocabulary. Try and look up some places online for how Hebrew works, it follows a different writing system- the abgad/abjad writing system, where they don't include (most) vowels. Take a look at this site for help also: http://www.teachmehebrew.com/