We talked a little about this at the last couple of classes. Microsoft has stopped supporting XP. That does not mean your XP machine is no longer any good. You can still use it. Your anti-virus program will still function. All your old programs will still work. If you are concerned about malware sneaking in because Microsoft is no longer supporting it, here is what I would do.
1. Stop using Internet Explorer. This is where a lot of hack have been made to push malware and viruses into your computer. Microsoft will not be making new IE patches for XP.
2. If you are using MSE for your anti-virus, switch to another free one like AVG or Avast. They are still supporting XP.
3. If you have another computer, non-XP, use it to access the Internet and use your XP machine for everything else. Just unplug the cable from your computer or if you are on WiFi, disable the device.
If you only have one machine, the following article talks about the option of installing a version of Linux in addition to XP on your machine. Use the Linux OS to access the Internet and get your email. Use the XP OS to use all those great old programs you are so used to. And yes, the files you create when in XP can be accessed in Linux so you can attach files to your emails and download files in Linux you can work on in XP. Here is the link: http://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/769024-replace-the-retiring-windows-xp-with-linux