Drawing from a corpus of naturally occurring parent–child interactions, this paper documents a common verbal practice used by US dual-earner parents to issue an early inquiry into children's homework. This practice is analyzed as a first discursive move to get homework accomplished. The analysis of this practice shows that parents' topicalizations of homework most often occur early in the afternoon and function to gauge the amount of homework that needs to be done and then allow the parent to initiate a sequence that plans for the doing of the homework into the rest of the day's activities. This practice starts a sequence of talk that illustrates the often difficult path that parents negotiate between retaining parent control and responsibility for the completion of homework, and socializing child autonomy. I also argue that this verbal practice is an indication of the degree to which parents orient to homework as an organizer of family activity on afternoons. Finally, this practice has implications for documenting the ways in which directives are not isolated utterances, but can in parent–child interaction be situated within a larger sequence of sequences in order to initiate activity.