yes, you are correct. Also, each switch is in its own box. I would also mention that this is not where the circuit will end. I need to to 3 more sets of lights down the line. I'm thinking that once I know how to do this, it is the same idea for the remaining sets of lights?
I was trying to do what you were advising and I think I may need to start over so this goes a little smoother. Let me see if I get what you're saying.
First off, I'm using 14/2 NM wire on an AFCI breaker (not sure if this matters to you).
I run the 3 wires off the service panel into switch box 1. Inside switch box 1, I also run wire out from it to light fixture 1. The white wires in switch box 1 coming in and going out get tied together. Do I tie the ground wires together w/pgtail and attach that to the ground screw on the switch? For the black wires, I tie them together with a pigtail and attach to the screw on the switch. Now, the wires coming out get attached to the light fixture 1; black to black, white to white and ground to ground.
I get more confused at the next part. Do I just run a single black wire from the other terminal on switch 1 to switch 2? Or, am I running another 3 wires from switch box 1, attaching the black to the free terminal, and tying the 3rd white wire to the other white wires and attaching the 3rd ground wire to the other ground wires?