This is how I learned, and it worked out pretty well. I would recomend it to anyone who's thinking about learning

First off, it's a good idea to get a drum set. Depending on how sure you are that you'll continue to play the drums, you should buy a used set for as cheep as you can find to 400$. Anything more than this at first is superfluous.

If a set is out of your reach, for whatever reason, you can still learn. You just need to improvise a drum set. Common substitutes for cymbals are pots and pans. A good snare drum substitute is a large, thin, steel pot. For a bass drum, either tap your foot on the floor or somehow make a pedal and have it hit a plastic bucket. You can use other plastic buckets for tom toms. I haven't found anything to closely resemble a high hat but for starters you can use a pan.

The next thing you should do is buy drum sticks. There's realy no getting around this one. Nothing makes for a decent substitute for drum sticks. Then before you play anything, try to get comfortable gripping your sticks the right way. This type of grip is called matched. Modern drumming generaly doesn't require anything else. In this grip, hold your sticks so that: your thumbs are be parallel to the stick and perfectly lined up over the last joint on your index finger, your index nucle faces upwards. The sticks will naturaly point inwards at about 30 degrees. Your last three fingers should be able to move freely (this will be extremely important if you ever get into more advanced stick control). The most important part of holding a stick, however, is that you relax your hand and relax your arms.

Once you've got a drum set set up, and you feel comfortable holding sticks, the first thing you should try to do is hit a closed high hat (with your stick), bass drum and snare drum all at once. Try and listen to yourself and hear whether all the strokes are realy coming down at once. This shouldn't take you more than half an hour to completely master. It's usually not too difficult.

After you have that down, try doing the following, play eighth notes on your high hat, hit the bass not on beats 1 and 3, hit the snare drum on beats 2 and 4 (if you don't know what the beats in a measure represent, or if you don't know what eighth notes are, find a node that explains musical time). After several hours of practice (you shold probably practice from 15 minutes to an hour each day), try putting the three drum sequences together. If you can do that, you can play the most common drumbeat of all time.

Once you've got that groove down, try playing the base drum on 1 and 3 and 3-and. Then try putting in an extra snare right before the 3.

If you can do these things, then you are well on your way to playing the drums very well. Listen to the radio and teach yourself to pick out the drumbeats. Then try to replicate them. The most important part of learning how to play the drums, naturally, is Practice!

post node: If you want to learn some advanced stick work, check out the book Stick Control for the Snare Drummer by George Lawrence Stone.