I have used moodle for exactly these purposes for the past yr. You will discover many other uses for moodle as well once you have it installed. The children LOVE computer time and I have had 100% homework completion since using moodle - THAT was a major accomplishment for my classes.
Fixing the permissions for the parents was a bit tricky, but Moodle 1.9+ (weekly install) has worked very well for this. I had to mix and match some student & teacher privileges to get it where I wanted it. So far, no real complaints.
I would suggest an add-on feature called Feedback, though. It will be standard (I've heard) in Moodle 2.0. It is a questionnaire/survey-type module. I have used this extensively with my parents to keep them involved. I can't speak for all the classes, but at least from my class, more parents are showing up for parent-teacher meetings than before.
As for your experience here on the forums; it will be a rare bird that is ever rude here. I have read years worth of posts in every forum and I have yet to see anyone be less than sympathetic - maybe too technical at times, but always helpful. We are all learning here and we all rely on each other to make our moodles work.
The Golden Rule: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' is really practiced here.