I'm a new knitter too, having learned by watching Amy's English Method video on September 9th (yes, I remember the day I found knittinghelp.com!!). I'm not quite a one-month-old knitter yet, but have made 3 scarves with the basic garter stitch. I think your idea is great - just knit several rows and look back to figure out where you goofed. That's how I learned. My biggest mistake was throwing my yarn over at the last stitch and "adding" stitches as I went along.
But once I realized what I was doing, I'm careful and don't do it anymore. My next project is a poncho for my daughter, who having just started kindergarten, is a budding fashion diva-ette.
Good luck to everyone - this site rocks
and I can get lost reading through the old posts!!