Dear painfully new,
Breathe in. Breathe out. It will be OK. You will figure it out, and if you can't figure it out, there are lots of people whose BYU-ian reason for existence includes helping people figure stuff out. (This includes your teachers, your TAs, your RAs, the open major advisement center, and, of course, us.) That's just some general life philosophy I wanted to throw out there (and some I should certainly be taking, myself). On to your actual questions:
I was hoping one of you would be able to enlighten me about the content and purpose of this class because all I know is it introduces students to the Y's curriculum and Honor's program. Basically, I want to know: is it a waste of time?
The description in the course catalog and class lists are pretty vague, but I found some old syllabi for the classes online, and I have to say that they look pretty cool. Every section is taught by a different professor and on a different topic. Past topics included "Faith vs. Science (and the BYU education)," "The History and Culture of College Sports" (Humble Master is now turning green with envy), "Mummies for Dummies" (visiting museums at BYU and elsewhere), etc. Basically, it looks like the point of these classes is to give a general overview of the honors program, and then go into one specific topic, in depth, in a way that's interesting and somewhat challenging, but still appropriate for an incoming freshman. If nothing else, I think that these classes exist to make freshmen excited about enrolling in the honors program, and if you're interested, I think you should go for it.
The class is .5-2.0 credits which leads into my second question. What is variable credit? I know someone already answered this question before, but I am a bit dense; therefore, the answer just left me more confused. It means I can repeat the course, correct?
It sounds like you're confusing variable credit and repeatable credit. If a class is repeatable, it has an "-R" after the class number, and you can take it more than once for credit. (Ex. Music 160R, is the class for beginning individual music lessons on some instrument. If you take it more than once, you'll be learning new music and techniques with your teacher, so they let you repeat it for credit.)
A variable credit class means that the number of credit hours aren't fixed — the number of credits is up to you or to you and your professor to determine. In the course catalog, they'll say something like "V1.0-3.0" for the number of credit hours. For example, I did an internship which had a variable number of credit hours. At the beginning of the semester, I sat down with the professor I was going to be working for, and we determined how many hours a week I would be working for her. If I had been very busy, I could have arranged to work for fewer hours, but as it happened, I needed the extra credits, so I arranged to work for the maximum 3.0 hours.
Of course, a class could be offered for variable credit hours and be repeatable, which would mean that you could take it for more than one semester, and negotiate the credits every time. Which brings us to your next question . . .
But, if I take the class for less credit, will I still be doing the same amount of work?
No. For something like an guided study class or an academic internship, there's a pretty basic conversion of 1 credit hour = 1 hour in class + 2 hours of outside homework. So you can register for as many credits as you need, or as few credits as you have time for. If it's a more structured class, then the difference might be in terms of having to do a class project, or the length of the final paper, or something. (I took a variable credit class here at the U of I, and the 4 hour students had to do weekly assignments, plus a term paper, while the 2 hour students just had to do the weekly assignments.) Regardless, if the individual sections are available for variable course credit, the instructor should have things set up so that the amount of work required will also be variable, and if you're unclear about how it works, you can ask him or her on the first day of class (or even shoot them an email ahead of time). (Really, it's OK. You're allowed. Especially as a panicky freshman who's confused. :) )
Because of my Freshman Academy envelope of classes, I don't have room for a math or language in my schedule. This is really freaking me out! Maybe I am just too used to the High School schedule, but is this a cause for concern?
Nope, not a problem. If you've got the minimum number of credits to be going full time (or keeping your scholarship, or whatever) and if most of those are GEs or required classes, you're good to go. In high school, you're sort of expected to take one unit of every type of core class, every semester, but college isn't really like that. It's perfectly normal not to have every type of class, every semester. If you're planning on going into a major that's very math-intensive (or language-intensive) it would be a good idea to get started on those required classes as soon as possible. Otherwise, it's pretty normal for people to be finishing up a few GEs even as juniors or seniors.
Good luck and don't worry, you'll do great! (And if you have any more questions, we're always here to calm the fears of concerned freshlings.)