I have found serveral "complete" slides already, should these be avoided or is it stupid to invent the wheel twice?
I am in the same situation. lol.
I myself love making my own things from scratch, but when it comes to the web there are reasons jquery has taken off. It has animations premade in it, it makes your life easier. Making things from scratch isn't suppose to be hard, its suppose to be fun. When it comes to the point that you hit a brick wall. It stops being fun. So learn jquery. Its worth it.
Flexslider has been my go-to for most of the websites I've made. The homepage has a simple copy+paste tutorial that walks you through the basics. I don't think it gets much more basic than that. Might be a good introduction to some jquery basics while you're at it :)
I downloaded this and it worked extremely well. Quite simple to get a basic understanding of how it works to customize it to your needs.